Following up quickly on their impressive debut, WITCHERY strike back on their sophomore effort “Dead, Hot, And Ready” with their stacked line-up and slightly new outlook on their one-two punch of dirty, intensified Death/Thrash Metal. Although this effort lacks some of the surprise that the band had going for them on their debut, it’s a solid follow-up that shows a few new tricks for them.
Despite the quick turn around of writing and recording this album, the band does get to experiment a little with this record. The foundation of “Dead, Hot, And Ready” still firmly places itself in that European combination of Death and Thrash Metal that was garnering such a following in the late 90s. With the repetition of its line-up from the debut, this second album still flares with the intensity of its riff focused punches (the melody does make its appearances burrowed in those riffs) and the energetic pouring from the kit that makes WITCHERY so much fun to listen to.
The band does make a few changes though. Gone is the more atmospheric elements that brought to mind the MERCYFUL FATE comparisons, and they are replaced with a more cohesive thread of a dirtier almost early Black Metal touch to it. Toxine’s hissing vocals smack even more of that Black Metal influence than prior (even though the mix on his vocals is far too weak) and the general cohesiveness of their style has been solidified. Which is both a great and awful thing on “Dead, Hot, And Ready” as the band finds a nice groove to attack but ultimately makes an album that tends to blend far too much together.
WITCHERY is still a ridiculously fun band to listen to and “Dead, Hot, And Ready” never changes that. It’s a continuation from their debut and the added cohesiveness and dirty Black Metal threads make it its own record, despite its tendency to run together too much. A solid follow up from a very impressive band, but not necessarily the best from them or the genre.
Songs to check out: “Full Moon”, “Dead, Hot, And Ready”, “A Paler Shade Of Death”.
(Online August 1, 2010)