Genre: Blackened Thrash/Speed Metal
Country: Sweden
Label: Century Media Records
Year: 2022

I was coming from a rather poor family and when I finished high school even in my university years I was always working for my music and books. I had a friend in late 90’s-early 00’s that we shared the same hobbies for almost a decade since we were kids and he was nattering all the time why I spend my (few) money on albums from (back) then new bands and not invest them on classics such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppellin or Rory Gallagher. Well after 25 years I can claim that I was rather prophetic when I used the tag line “Me and my generation will turn these ones into classics” as I was trying to explain myself why I was buying more extreme bands and more rawness in terms of nearest in the time that was originally printed. Witchery, Angelcorpse, Sodom, Wardog, Rage, At The Gates, Bewitched, Deceased, King Diamond, Sepultura, Death etc..etc.. were among the bands among hundreds of others I discovered and weren’t back then yet considered to be classics…Now I can proudly see in my discothèque featuring albums from everything I loved all these 30+ years I enjoy extreme music and Witchery was one of the bands I perceived that would distinguish from other bands of their era. They never became big, but Witchery have spent nearly three decades summoning Heavy Metal’s demonic spirit. From the release of classic debut “Restless & Dead” in 1998 onwards, they have continually upped the ante for hard, fast and malevolent music, always rooted in the filth and violence of thrash, but equally infused with the supernatural menace of Mercyful Fate and their blackened ilk. And that’s really more than just enough for me. I also remember me wearing a “Restless & Dead” t-shirt of them in a Rockwave Festival in Athens back in 1999 while I was seeing for the first time Sodom, Manowar and Mercyful Fate..

So what to expect from these Swedes in their new 8th studio full length? Meanwhile, “Nightside” marks the arrival of a new member to the band’s esteemed line-up. Co-founding bassist Sharlee D’Angelo has departed, not least due to his duties with Arch Enemy, and regular live stand-in Victor Brandt (also in Dimmu Borgir) has been officially inducted into the band. Along with the debut of their new bassist, “Nightside” features a host of revered special guests, all of whom make telling contributions to this horror.  “Burning Coffins” features Jeff Walker, that is taking turns with the band’s singer Angus. Witchery always have Hank Shermann from Mercyful Fate on their records, so he’s on there too. Then we have Maciek Ofstad from Kvelertak and Simon Johansson from Wolf, who both do guest solos. Simon also owns the studio that the album was recorded.

With a fresh member and fresh ideas (and a little help from their friends) Witchery had a tall mountain to climb as they had to beat their own selves. Their previous effort was more than great. “I Am Legion” (2017), was a triumph. I was never so optimistic or hopeful to look forward for a new “Dead, Hot And Ready” (1999) or a “Witchkrieg” (2010) part2. But I think that here we are dealing with one of their most ambitious work so far. “Nightside” is a concept album, dealing with witches and witchfinders, curses and charms, and the overpowering stench of religious brutality. You can’t make a solid concept album if you can’t be dramatic or having many twists and peaks, and thankfully Witchery manage to add brave doses of dynamism and drama in their sound. Songs like “Popecrusher”, “Churchburner” ,“A Forest of Burning Coffins”, “ Don’t Burn the Witch”, “Storm of the Unborn” and “Crucifix and Candle” make their work easier, as it is easy for everyone to see that he band  managed to fit music with the lyrics and the mood with convenience.

 “Nightside” is a worth exploring heavy metal album as Witchery once again have written some fantastic tunes fit for their thrusting horror story.