Wykked Wytch – Something Wykked This Way Comes – 4/5
Metal Archives calls them Gothic metal. I call bollocks. Beyond the short Sabbath-esque intro lies some creative death/thrash, with hard hitting drums, frequent tempo changes, and a tone that reminds me more of mid-era ‘Death’ than any gothic metal band that comes to mind. The creativity in the guitar work, and the tone the vocalist musters places this as one forgotten gem that deserves a renewed mention.
The first thing that strikes you amidst the cold acoustic intro is that this is not a band to do things by the book. With a sharp cackle the riffs get under way. Competent drumming heading a prominently heard assault, even if the aggression often feels as thought it is falling behind the rest of the instrumentation. The bass thickens the tone and creates a divide between the more blackened, thinner tone, and the fuller deathly tone, but for the most part allows the guitars and vocals to supply the creativity.
The guitars here are phenomenal, simplistic enough to be catchy, yet unusual enough to stand out from the crowd, they present a highly varied pace, from the neo-classical high speed solo’s, to the nearly doom-like slow pace he presents an unusually clean tone to slice through the backing work. The solo’s he musters are worthy of far greater praise than they are given, and are this albums main highlight.
Growling, shrieking and screaming her way onto the tracks, this vocalists diversity in pitch is well noted, from the blood curdling high pitched shrieks to the slower deep deathly growls. With an absence of a mid-range, she creates a contrast between the two sides, but this necessity for straddling both sides has perhaps left her vocals feeling overly strained, and whilst this lends a slightly sadistic tone, it does little to assist the aggressive emphasis needed at times, to compensate for the cleaner guitar work.
This is an album full of creative guitar lines, kept interesting by a competent backing and diverse vocalist, and whilst their more recent material, with an almost entirely new line-up (save for the vocalist), is likely to be different, their roots should not remain forgotten. Fans of mid-late death may do well to give this a glance.
Highlights: Wytch’s Sabbath, Dripping Blood, Shallow Grave, Ripping Flesh
Note: So the name does bear a great deal of resemblance to Iced Earth’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” but a quick spot of research shows this release actually came first. However, The rather unoriginally named ‘Wytch’s Sabbath’ bearing resemblance of course to ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,’ Dripping Blood reminiscent of ‘Raining Blood,’ sharing the name ‘Black Widow’ with Children of Bodom (though again, this release came first), ‘Expect No Mercy,’ more than a little similar to the title of Slayer’s debut ‘Show No Mercy,’ when it came to song titles its suffice to say they weren’t the most creative. Good job the guitarist makes up for it.