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Attic - Return Of The Witchfinder review


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Band: Attic
Album: Return Of The Witchfinder
Style: Heavy metal
Release date: April 2024

01. The Covenant
02. Darkest Rites
03. Hailstorm And Tempest
04. The Thief's Candle
05. Return Of The Witchfinder
06. Offerings To Baalberith
07. Azrael
08. Up In The Castle
09. The Baleful Baron
10. Synodus Horrenda

By Medieval law, it would surely be an act of violation against traditional occult heavy metal if you were to miss out on this, an act that The Witchfinder would likely punish by burning at the stake.

Attic are a relatively unknown act when looking at modern occult heavy metal on the grand scale, but why should they be? While no band has perhaps ever lived up to the high quality standards of the traditional occult-themed heavy metal legend King Diamond (particularly when one includes the early stages of his career in Mercyful Fate), there's still been a staggering number of acts who've taken inspiration from him. Although very few actually succeed in, or even come close to, recreating the legend, one act have done so very well, and that is the German five-piece heavy metal band Attic, who formed back in 2011.

A year after the band's formation came their full-length debut The Invocation, which was then followed by their equally impressive sophomore Sanctimonious in 2017, prior to a brief hiatus between 2020 and 2023. Now, Attic return to the scene to unleash what is their third full-length offering, Return Of The Witchfinder. Simply put, this release is 50 minutes of pure traditional-sounding occultish heavy metal that's lyrically dark and sadistic, with punchy guitars, memorable grooves, and theatrical vocals very much in the vein of King Diamond himself.

The album begins with a short eerie intro titled "The Covenant", featuring cello and violin strings, with distressing screams in the background behind a creepy theatrical spoken word that leads into the main opening track, "Darkest Rites". A King Diamond-style scream performed by vocalist Meister Cagliostro starts this track off, which is followed by classic traditional heavy riffs intertwined with rapid solos, courtesy of impressive guitar duo Tim Katteluhn and Max Povver. The guitars are driven by a more than competent rhythm section comprising Christoph Erdmann (bass) and J.P. (drums). This impressive opener gives you more than a taste of what's to come; basically what Attic offer here is a fresh take on Mercyful Fate with an up-to-date modern production, which if you're a fan of classic occult-influenced heavy metal will surely suit you to the ground.

From here, the twin guitar work continues to shine, and does so through every track, from rapidly paced exciting leads to the endless supply of highly melodic heavy riffs, whilst the echoing high-pitched haunting squeals and catchy theatrical choruses continue to pay homage to King Diamond. Some theatrical and creepy atmospheric moments also occur just to add some dynamic sinister effects, from the sound of the howling wind at the beginning of the track "Hailstorm And Tempest", to the soft, eerie, haunting acoustic section, accompanied by more creepy spoken word, featured on "The Thief's Candle", as well as striking female torturous screams on the title track.

Overall, Return Of The Witchfinder is the most evil release, both lyrically and musically, by Attic yet. It's brimming top-to-bottom with memorable riffs and impressive solos, and the 5 musicians perform to an exemplary standard throughout. The songwriting may start to become more and more predictable as the album goes on, with the standout moments mostly being in the record's first half up to the midway mark, but don't mistake this band for a simple rip-off with a lack of ambition. So, King Diamond/Mercyful Fate fans, do yourself a favor and give this a spin right away.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 5
Production: 8

Written on 15.04.2024 by Feel free to share your views.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 64 users
16.04.2024 - 00:39
Not original, maybe a 0 in that but I love the way of tnose guys treating the mercyful fate style
Maybe as his eyes are wide.
16.04.2024 - 14:57
Rating: 7
It's quite impressive just how much the vocalist replicates King Diamond's own voice - it's one thing to have that high falsetto in the locker, but there's 3 typical forms KD's vocals usually take (full falsetto, higher-pitched singing, and the more mid-tempo creepy nasalish approach), and this guy covers all of them to a remarkably similar degree. As for the music, it's one of those cases where it doesn't have the uniqueness or sheer memorability to rival the early Mercyful Fate/King Diamond albums, but it's likely going to be more satisfying to listen to than the upcoming MF/KD ones based on their more recent form

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