REVIEW: WITCHERY – “I Am Legion”
Just when you think a band could not possibly get any better, Witchery comes along with ‘I Am Legion’ and blows that theory all to hell. The malevolent monstrosity of the music on this album surpasses the sheer genius brutality of ‘In His Infernal Majesty’s Service’. Each of the eleven tunes of withering black thrash on ‘I Am Legion’ make for thoroughly enjoyable feast of evil.
After the ground swell of support that Witchery received from the ‘In His Infernal Majesty’s Service’ album, they set a goal to record another album within a year. Using the same essential ingredients of Angus Norder (vocals), Patrik Jensen (guitar), Rikard Rimfalt (lead guitar), Sharlee D’Angelo (bass), and Chris Barkensjo (drums) working with producer Danne Bergstrand at Dug Out Studio, Witchery have destroyed their target.
From the storming riffage of the opening intro “Legion”, you know you are in for a treat. This little number gives way to the first single from the album called “True North”. The riffs are imbued with sinister intent. Angus Norder’s vocals instill the music with venom. When I hear his voice, I think of gargling with broken glass and the blood of angels. The chorus howl of “True North” conjures visions of icy blue hate.
There is so much to enjoy and savor with this album that it is difficult to tease the highlights, but let’s give it a shot. “Welcome, Night” is unnerving with tension inducing riffs digging into you with relentless claws. The suspense this creates is unyielding. “Amun-Ra” is full of blunt force trauma. The rhythm is punishing and Norder’s vocals add to the songs manic intensity.
What adds to the overall appeal of ‘I Am Legion’ is the production. The distortion on the guitars is crisp and heavy. At times, I was reminded of the fantastic guitar sound on Slayer’s “South of Heaven”. The sparse production on the drums is a breath of fresh air. They exude raw power with hammering toms and pummeling bass. Finally, what is not too love about the bass tone, particularly on the intro to “An Unexpected Guest”. If there was a problem with the mix, it is that once the band gets going, you lose a bit of the definition in the bass guitar.
Throughout the listening of this album, you may hear voices. As in the quote from the bible in Mark 5:9 “And Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He replied, ‘My name is Legion, for we are many.’” There are many songs on the album where you can hear multiple voices or in some cases backward vocals. I imagined the many souls who make up the demon called Legion reaching out from the music. This is a great effect to enhance the aura of sinister malice and disquiet.
‘I Am Legion’ by Witchery is a blackened treasure of metal oozing with maniacal fury. The songwriting, performance, and recording on ‘I Am Legion’ builds upon and transcends their earlier works including the impeccable ‘In His Infernal Majesty’s Service’. This album will infect your soul with captivating music that powerfully tells stories full of evil and malignant intent.