PICK OF THE WEEK: Bewitcher jolt with hellish glory, black metal style on ‘Cursed Be Thy Kingdom’

Breaking news: Heavy metal bands are super into the devil and will figure out whatever creative (or not-so-creative) ways to inject the dark overlord into their music, cover art, merch, you name it. This has been the case since the genre started, it remains that way now, and it will until this music form dies and descends straight into hell.

That whole thing whips up again with “Cursed Be Thy Kingdom,” the new record from Portland, Ore., blasters Bewitcher, who should find a larger audience now that they’re aligned with giants Century Media. That’s a mutual benefit, really, as the label gets a fresh, fiery new band to add to their roster, and the band can entrance their audience with their rock and roll-based black metal that, yes, very much digs in its hooves for Satan himself. Don’t’ be mistaken: This isn’t a religious homage by any means. Instead, it’s a blistering explosion into heathenistic fun that simmers in both traditional and cataclysmic waters. The band—vocalist/guitarist M. Von Bewitcher, bassist A. Magus, drummer A. Hunter—injects a ton of attitude, charisma, and fire to their third record, which so happens to be their best sounding so far and one that should raise their profile, especially once shows are back.   

“Ashe” is a quick instrumental intro track built with dusty acoustics and a Western vibe, welling up and blowing its way into “Death Returns…” that explodes with churning riffs and metallic power. “He’s coming for your soul,” Von Bewitcher warns as the band hits the gas pedal and injects you with a giant dose of hellish fun. “Satanic Magick Attack” unleashes a killer riff and classic metal power, pummeling you and smashing you with a great chorus. “He’s coming for your soul,” Von Bewitcher pokes as the tempo is furious and jabbing, the chorus whips back in for another go, and everything ends in a pit of fire. “Electric Phantoms” lets the drums loose and envelops you as the speed ignites and sends the song roaring toward the stars. A total ’80s-style solo completely melts while the tempo remains rough and rowdy, and the track keeps its intensity right to the bloody end. “Mystifier (White Night City)” has utterly killer riffs and Von Bewitcher howling, “It’ll be a hot time in the town tonight.” Great guitar work unloads as the pace suddenly changes and warps, soloing kills, and the track ends in total annihilation.

The title track has a huge opening as the guitars lunge, the vocals fire up, and an array of blows are set to kill. The leads fire up as the track blazes melodically, Von Bewitcher’s words imagine chariots clashing in heaven, and everything comes to a destructive end. “Valley of the Ravens” chugs as it achieves a mystical vibe as the vocals warp over top. The visions of witches burning is woven into the story as Von Bewitcher wails, “What a lovely day for an execution.” Cool soloing arrives and gets aggressive in a hurry while the chorus rounds back for a final blow, leaving you heaving on the ground. “Metal Burner” counts off as things immediately get into the fray, blasting your body 50 feet into the air. “Your soul is lost in the space between the stars,” Von Bewitcher calls as the guitars go off, and the track grinds your face in the dirt. “The Widow’s Blade” opens in chants as the first punches are thrown, and the tempo opens up. Raspy howls pelt at your flesh as the guitars gush with colors, and fluid soloing leaves you blinded. The chorus, for which this band has a huge knack, lashes back at the end as Von Bewitcher howls, “By the edge of a bloody widow’s blade!” leaving you flattened. “Sign of the Wolf” closes the album, starting with a vigorous launch and landing heavy blows. The vocals are grimy and forceful as the leads catch fire, and the low end chugs. “It’s alright, I can’t turn back now,” Von Bewitcher vows as the final moments explode, burying you in a pile of your own piss and filth.

Bewitcher’s devilish, rock-smeared black metal manages to get a few notches catchier on “Cursed Be Thy Kingdom,” a record that’s likely to garner them the most attention of their great run simply due to the weight of their new label. What bands like Tribulation (and in my ears fail) to capture, Bewitcher grabs with a stranglehold and hammers to conform to its will. This is great sounding, fun, and hellishly destructive, an album that should catapult Bewitcher into more people’s brains.

For more on the album, go here: https://www.facebook.com/BewitcherOfficial

To buy the album, go here: http://www.cmdistro.com/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.centurymedia.com/