Stormwitch - Priest Of Evil review


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Band: Stormwitch
Album: Priest Of Evil
Release date: 1998

01. Intro- Rats In The Attic
02. Hell's Still Alive
03. Stronger Than Heaven
04. Trust In The Fire
05. Priest Of Evil
06. Masque Of The Red Death
07. Jonathon's Diary
08. Intro- Sword Of Sagon
09. Ravenlord
10. Skull And Crossbones
11. Arabian Nights
12. Dorian Gray
13. Intro- No Point Of Return
14. Eternia
15. Walpurgis Night [live]

Priest Of Evil is a kind of 80's best of for Stormwitch, since the glorious days were the 80's and the band faded away in the 90's. There's a long story to be told about Stormwitch, forming a solid fanbase in Germany, but they were also very popular in europe's east, tributing that with the Live In Budapest album, which was rather poorly recognized back home. Furthermore the 90's weren't a Stormwitch decade, the two studio albums put out then were not as successful and couldn't capture the spirit of former releases, but let's leave it at that.

Tributing Stormwitch's early records Priest Of Evil was put out in 1998, named after a song from the first album 'Walpurgis Night'. Most of the 15 tracks on Priest Of Evil are from the albums 'Stronger Than Heaven' and 'Tales Of Terror' both regarded as Stormwitch's strongest albums.
What exactly were the 80's about when listening to Stormwitch? Well, the band kind of found a niche of Heavy Metal that was called 'Black Romantic' that has absolutely nothing to do with Black Metal, rather a melodic and romantic approach to the classic Heavy Metal itself, without allusions to but clear influences (self-proclaimed by the band) by Iron Maiden. And yes, you can hear songs as powerful as those of Iron Maiden, but lots of balladesque and slower songs, too. Where in the beginning was known to wear leather and spikes, for the wild and dangerous appeal on stage the change came with the rise of the popularity of these outfits in the genre of Thrash Metal. Not wanting to be confused with these thrashbands and not wanting to follow a trend the band went the rather unique way of wearing baroque-like costumes which would more or less support the mysterious way (regarding the lyrics of sagas, myths and the likes of).
One of the songs on 'Priest Of Evil' even stands out among the rest: 'Ravenlord' which has been covered and played live on lots of concerts by swedish metallers 'Hammerfall'.
The swedes claim to be huge fans of germany's 'best metal band'. Maybe it is due to them that Stormwitch's popularity rose quasi-post-mortem and brought part of the idea of resurrection in 2002. This popularity is proven by copies of the bands 80's records being sold on eBay in Germany for 20+ Euro's and hey aou'd be lucky to get one of them cheaper!
Among the bands' older material 'Ravenlord' in my opinion is one of the five best songs, follwoing after Walpurgis Night' which is featured on this compilation as live version from the 'Live In Budapest' album and the not featured tracks 'Beauty And The Beast' and the instrumental 'Rondo A La Turca'. Along follow featured songs like 'Masque Of The Red Death' (inspired by Edgar Allen Poe), 'Rats In The Attic', 'Trust In The Fire', 'Sword Of Sagon' and others. This compilation is generally full of good material, not really mentionable flaws in the songs, but rather in the production. I don't know if the songs were copied directly from LP's (maybe cd copies are just too rare and expensive, haha), but several songs don't sound as if they were remastered in any way, you can still hear noise as if from vinyl and the sound is sometimes lacking the pressure and depth, or appears even thin sometimes. In my opinion a remastering would have been suitable. Besides the arguable quality management the compilation is still valuable and filled with tracks rarely available on cd, a must for fans or those who want to get an image of what the good old Stormwitch times were about. 8 Points.

Written by Pierre Tombale | 20.11.2004


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