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Seven Witches - "Call Upon The Wicked" (CD)

Seven Witches - "Call Upon The Wicked" CD cover image

"Call Upon The Wicked" track listing:

01. Fields of Fire
02. Lilith
03. Call Upon the Wicked
04. Ragnarok
05. End of Days
06. Mind Games
07. Harlot of Troy
08. Eyes of Flame
09. White Room (Cream Cover)
10. Metal Tyrant (Live) (Bonus Track)
11. Metal Asylum (Live) (Bonus Track)
12. Jacob / Priest (Outro) (Live) (Bonus Track)

Reviewed by on July 21, 2011

"Low tuned, crunching guitars of the neo-prog variety open 'Fields of Fire.' This opening track on Seven Witches’ latest prog-power offering 'Call Upon the Wicked' soon reveals how capable the band is in modernizing a well-worn, classic metal sound."

Low tuned, crunching guitars of the neo-prog variety open “Fields of Fire.” This opening track on Seven Witches’ latest prog-power offering “Call Upon the Wicked” soon reveals how capable the band is in modernizing a well-worn, classic metal sound. When James Rivera’s vocal highs enter the mix, listeners may experience a flash back to Robert Plant’s haunting cries on “Immigrant Song.” Jack Frost mimics these vocal highs with soaring guitar notes, thus ushering in the eighth Seven Witches studio recording.

“Call Upon the Wicked” marks the return of iron-lung vocalist Rivera (Helstar) to a band filled with the technical genius of guitarist Jack Frost, bassist Mike LePond (Symphony X) and new skin pounder Taz Marazz. From Metalium to Savatage to Bronx Casket Co., Jack Frost has played his share of riffs, but shows no signs of writer’s block. In fact, Frost’s playing is the most consistent aspect of the album.

From the Priest-ish hard-rockin’ grooves of “Call Upon the Wicked” and “Eyes of Flame” to the speed overdose of “Harlot of Troy” and Dio-like gallops of “End of Days," Frost is an assembly line of riffage. A highlight reel of his playing would surely include the quick string bending of “Helen of Troy” at around the 1:30 mark. His finger play here is necessary for fans of Destruction’s Mike Sifringer. These successive notes also signify the coming finger-rending solos.

The band states that the album follows a concept. Possibly the group wrote the album to follow the course of humanity’s downfall, as illustrated in various cultures’ mythology. The ancient Hebrew succubus Lilith, the Norse’s end-times scenario Ragnarok and Greek mythologies Helen of Troy are some of the archetypes highlighted. Rivera’s shrill tones instill the music with glory or trepidation appropriate for these immortal stories. He takes a softer, more ominous tone on “Lilith,” fitting for the deceptive character he’s portraying. He matches the chants on “Helen of Troy” with a potent cry that echoes an unstoppable Achilles leading the charge to Troy’s seemingly unbreakable walls. The chorus on “Ragnarok” conjures images of the Norse gods' world-ending battles.

While “Call Upon the Wicked” is rock-solid in so many ways, it is by no means a perfect album. The nine-minute “End of Days” is an epic, memorable song in so many ways, but could greatly benefit without the hokey, bouncy (think Disney pirates) rhythm that appears around the five-minute mark. Additionally, Rivera overemphasizes each word at the end of the verse lines, upping the cheese content. The last four songs—three live and a cover—do little for the album, although their re-imagining of Cream’s “White Room” is surprisingly good. Overall, “Call Upon the Wicked” is solid, especially if you’re looking for potent prog-power metal.

Highs: "Fields of Fire," "Helen of Troy," "Lilith"

Lows: The bouncy rhythm near the middle of "End of Days" and the live tracks.

Bottom line: “Call Upon the Wicked” is solid, especially if you’re looking for potent prog-power metal.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)