Xiled To Infinity And One
Review by Mike Korn
There's a lot of hot air being expelled by bands claiming they are "true" heavy metal these days. In most cases, hot air is all that it is. The majority of "true" metal bands wind up pumping out shiny, clean "happy" metal in the tradition of Helloween and Hammerfall or overblown operatic stuff like Rhapsody. Few indeed are the bands that can legitimately claim to evoke the same atmosphere that made Judas Priest, Accept, Saxon and Angel Witch so great. Seven Witches is such a band. Instead of embellishing everything with tons of choirs, keyboards, guitar effects and the like, they serve up meat and potatoes heavy metal that is as satisfying and unpretentious as a cold beer and a hot dog at a baseball game. The songs are all 5 minutes or less and don't attempt to break any records for most chords and time changes in a song. The pace is medium to moderately fast, with enough energy to get your head banging but not remove it from your neck.
It's a subtle yet simple approach. Guitarist Jack Frost, who has played in Savatage and Metalium amongst other bands, is a big proponent of the "less is more" school of guitar playing, which suits me just fine. Singer Wade Black (ex-Crimson Glory) doesn't try to blow your eardrums out with high-pitched screaming all the time but goes for a more smoldering, groove-based approach. The more you listen to Seven Witches, the more you can pick up all the clever nuances in his singing and marvel at some very catchy vocal lines. An easy comparison would be Ripper Owens, but he doesn't lay the screaming on quite as thick as Ripper. Bass and drums are also rock solid here and I've since learned that bass duties for the band will now be provided by legendary Joey Vera, who almost wound up replacing Cliff Burton in Metallica. That change should do the band nothing but good.
Individual songs don't tend to stand out a lot here, but taken as a whole, "Xiled To Infinity and One" is extremely strong and flows well. It's "true" metal for real and many power metal pretenders are encouraged to pick this one up to see what the real deal is all about!