Burning Witches - Hexenhammer [Album Review]
In three years with one album, Burning Witches have made quite a name for themselves. Now they are ready to prove with their full-length sophomore release, Hexenhammer, that they are not just a one trick novelty act.
About The Band
Brugg, Switzerland’s own Burning Witches have been pushing boundaries in the metal scene since their inception in 2015. Fresh off the momentum of the critically acclaimed self -titled debut and a supporting tour, they quickly went back to the studio to record their sophmore LP Hexenhammer. The classic metal influenced quintet was founded by former Atlas & Axis member Romana Kalkuhl who already had two albums and toured with A&A.
With Hexenhammer, Burning Witches have even more to prove as a band. Like any sophomore release, they not only have to prove that their self-titled isn’t going to be their most favored, as sometimes the evolution of a band can sometimes go, but that as women they can jam just as good as Judas Priest, Dio, or Iron Maiden did 30 years ago consistently. Accomplishing this takes care of any shadows of doubt Burning Witches may still have. So is Burning Witches the real deal?
Hexenhammer starts out with a nice, bass filled, yet eerie introduction followed by their first single “Executed” and “Lords Of War”. The songwriting is top notch in channeling the influences of the UK Heavy Metal scene of the 80’s. This trend continues throughout the album with songs like “Maiden Of Steel” and “Hexenhammer”, but the overt love ballad “Don’t Cry My Tears” really showcases that Burning Witches can slow it down and still set a very identifiable tone. It’s a song that I don’t hear as much anymore in their genre and it was very welcoming. Tracks like “Dungeon Of Infamy” and “Possession” show that they are well versed the occultic aspect of the classic Heavy Metal genre.
This album doesn’t go too fast or too slow. The flow is just right throughout, complimented by guitar riffs that aren’t overly distorted or produced. The guitar solo work is fast, melodic and very memorable along with the hallmark crunch of the backing riffs. Lala’s drumming is intense and is a very strong backbone on each track. Seraina’s vocal work is top notch as each note is filled with passion and love for metal. You can hear all sorts of iconic influences in her wide vocal range and it sounds good with an inflecting growl in her style. She is also very clear with her singing. I never felt a need to look any lyrics up listening to Hexenhammer, which is always refreshing as a listener. After their killer rendition of Dio’s “Holy Diver”, you are left feeling satisfied with the full serving this album brings.
As a side note, it should be said that the book MALLEUS MALEFICARUM (a.k.a. THE HAMMER OF THE WITCHES, in German: “Hexenhammer”) that legitimated the witch hunting in 1486 is the main lyrical influence for the album.
This was a very fun album to listen to. If you are of fan of the UK 80’s metal scene, this is the “modern resurrection” album for you. It has every iconic influence you could think of in many aspects of the album that makes it a very enjoyable listen. From the songwriting to the vocal work to the occultic nature itself, this album is everything that Heavy Metal is supposed to be. To have this album in your vinyl shelf between classic Angelwitch and Carcass is a must as it would fit in very nice and snug in that genre’s collection.
To answer the question above, Burning Witches is every bit “the real deal” as they crush every shadow of doubt that remains after their debut album. Once you give Hexenmammer a listen, you will solidly agree.
Burning Witches will go on a European tour in January in support of Hexenhammer. Find out if they are coming to a town near you!
Burning Wiches is a Nuclear Blast Records act and Hexenhammer is available through Nuclear Blast Records. There are various hard copy packages available online. Hexenhammer is also available on most audio streaming platforms including Spotify and Itunes. Find Burning Witches on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other various social media platforms.