STORMWITCH were one of the absolute cult bands of my youth. Classics like “Walpurgis Night” (1984), “Tales Of Terror” (1985), “Stronger Than Heaven” (1986) and “The Beauty And The Beast” (1988) to me are the best and most important ever immortalized on vinyl by a German band in terms of Heavy Metal. What do I care for HELLOWEEN?
No doubt STORMWITCH were the gods of German Metal, at least to me and to many of my mates. (Right, Hawk?) But only until the level sank with “Eye Of The Storm” (1990) and “War Of The Wizards” (1992)…I don’t even want to comment on “Shogun” (1994). In 2002, the MASTERS OF BLACK ROMANTIC, as they were labelled by the press back then, delivered a comeback disc in “Dance With The Witches”, which was good, but could not completely compete with the old glorious deeds. And with the new album “Witchcraft” that I have here, they were even able to get a deal with Nuclear Blast. So the odds for the future of the stormwitches from Gerstetten are good. Of course, my expectations were so high that the album can only disappoint me – but hey, it doesn’t.
It’s really good, though no high-flyer like the old classics! It’s impossible to revive the spirit of these days anyway. I guess “Witchcraft” is rather Hardrock than Metal. There are really strong songs like the opener “The Sinister Child”, which would also have fit well on “The Beauty And The Beast”. Even the speedy “At The Break Of This Day” really appeals to me, despite or especially because of its tralala chorus. However the album’s best song is “Puppet In A Play”, a song in the old tradition and the song which is most “Metal”.
What astounds me, is the fact that even with rather „average tunes“, cool ideas are still inserted or the song is saved by the great interaction. Best example: “The Drinking Song” which somehow reminds me of fug like DSCHINGIS KHAN due to its Russian folklore parts. STORMWITCH turn it into a speedy party song which probably takes itself least seriously.
But my point of criticism is, that a couple of heavier songs would be quite appropriate with the next work and the presence of the keyboards should be decreased. Apart from that, like I said, very good but not outstanding! (Online November 30, 2004)