Heretic Rapture

Written by: TL on 16/07/2009 12:53:41

I know it's unusual, but I don't feel like long winded introductions at the moment, so allow me to jump relatively directly into this review of "Heretic Rapture", the debut album from Portuguese metal outfit Witchbreed. A classically arranged band with drums, bass, two guitars and a female singer.

The band's music is characterized by two dominating themes. First and foremost, there seems to be a lot of classic metal inspiration going on, with grooves, leads and solos that should all conjure an image in your mind, of a leather clad motherfucker with long latin curls, cranking out wailing notes from his guitar while trying to look as mean and cool as he possibly can. There's just a distinct eighties heavy feeling to it that I just can't shake, which is somehow odd, because the tone and production of the record is decisively modern. You know, bleak, cold, crystal clear and merciless. Throw in the odd reference to the band's Portuguese background (where the atmosphere sounds a bit like Moonspell) and a singer that sounds like some hybrid of Sharon del Adel and Doro Pesch and that's pretty much the soundscape for you.

All of this has then gone into "Heretic Rapture", an album full of songs arranged to sound epic, and at this Witchbreed have indeed succeeded. In terms of both production and technicality the craftsmanship is spotless and very impressive for such a young band. However, with praise being given to the musicianship, I feel that it's time to also talk about the problem of this album, namely the artistry. You see, while the fusion of old and new metal ethics under female vocals isn't something I've seen done a great many time, it's still hard to get a feeling of who Witchbreed are as a band. It's like their record is just too solid, too monolithic and unfriendly for the listener to find highlights in. I blame this mostly on singer Ruby, whose delivery is so perfect I'm tempted to call it robotic. Like I said she's technically dead on, but over such a long album as this is (13 tracks, average length ~4:20), her powerful expression simply gets monotonous too fast, and in my opinion she doesn't manage to breathe the emotion into the music that it actually deserves.

In the end though, I must disclaim that this record has been hard for me to get a fix on. I've spun it countless times on my home stereo while minding my daily business, and I can't help but to think that maybe it's a lacking in my appreciation for heavy metal that prevents from really getting this. So if you eat heavy metal for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this record should actually prove a healthy meal with some modern spice on top - for me however, it's solid musicianship but the impression of it unfortunately gets boring relatively quickly.


Download: Rebel Blood
For The Fans Of: Erhh.. Moonspell (but lighter), Within Temptation (but heavier)
Listen: myspace.com/witchbreed

Release Date 29.06.2009
Ascendance Records

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