SEVEN WITCHES – Years Of The Witch

SEVEN WITCHES - Years Of The Witch


Screaming Ferret Wreckords
Release date: September 26, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Since 1999, Seven Witches, featuring guitarist/founder Jack Frost, has kept very busy. Seven years later, a full six studio albums have been unleashed upon the world, all the while maintaining a standard of being one of the greater modern Traditional USA Heavy Metal bands.

Now, probably since a new Seven Witches CD isn’t on the horizon for year 2006, it’s time for a DVD. Many bands would use a gap between studio albums with a live CD, but because Seven Witches typically doesn’t really have long gaps, a live DVD — Years Of The Witch, filmed in Allentown early 2005 — is being offered instead.

Many line-ups have surely passed since the debut CD Second War In Heaven saw the light of day, among the members being four singers to date, the best of those being legendary James Rivera (Helstar, Destiny’s End, Distant Thunder, Killing Machine, Vicious Rumors). Rivera has since unfortunately left Seven Witches, but is thankfully featured on this DVD. The man’s voice speaks for itself, it was made to sing Metal music and it suits the pre-Rivera material great as well. Songs like “Answer” and “Camelot” from the Bobby Lucas (original singer) fronted days get respectful treatment, as does “Metal Tyrant” and “Incubus” off of the Xiled To Infinity And One release, which had Wade Black (Leatherwolf, ex-Crimson Glory) handling vocal duties. Many singers don’t live up live to their studio benchmark, but Rivera’s voice holds up remarkably well in the live setting. On the other hand, Jack Frost’s backing vocals leave a lot to be desired, and something the live presentation could do without.

Frost’s powerful riff’s are what Seven Witches strong material is built upon. The dark style of songwriting is akin to Tony Iommi at times, though modernized, as is the simple, technically lacking, yet effective, lead guitar work.

Therefore, the sound on this DVD is a letdown. It seems very low and there aren’t any audio selections that could have possibly enhanced this aspect. Visually, it’s pretty good. There’s no ultra-fast editing, which is a blessing as it’s easy on the eye, and the camera crew did a good job.

Joining Frost and Rivera in this line-up is Dennis Hayes, bass (Beyond Fear, ex-Winter’s Bane) and drummer Jeff Carlton with occasional help from keyboardist Eric Ragner, and the performance is tight. Six of the fourteen performed songs are lifted from Passage To The Other Side, the strongest Witches CD, but it’s a good mix of songs from the first five releases, that also sees the band, minus Rivera, performing a laid-back jam session .

The bonus features are a nice touch. Included are a story of the band, Frost talking to album engineer Don Sternecker and an entertaining interview conducted by Marc Roman from BW&BK.

Early pre-production reports had indicated that plenty of early footage would be included, which unfortunately is not really the case. It’s a bit of a shame, as the Lucas-fronted formation still holds a dear place among plenty of enthusiasts. One might also wonder why the band’s one and so far only promo video for “Sunnydale High,” off the latest CD, Amped, that saw Rivera replaced by Alan Tecchio (Hades), is not included, as it would have made the package more complete in terms of actual produced footage, and thus would have served as presentation of the latest Seven Witches formation as well.

All in all, this is a quality release … definitely a must for Seven Witches fans, and a good, solid purchase for Traditional Metal purists in general.


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