CD review WITCHBOUND ‘End of Paradise’

Witchbound is a band that has its roots in the early days of Stormwitch. With Stefan Kauffmann und Peter Langer, two of the Stormwitch veterans are on board and Witchbound might not be around if Stormwitch mastermind Lee Tarot wouldn’t have started work on new songs before he passed away far too early in 2013. Kauffmann and Langer decided at the time to finish what was started by their brother in metal. ‘Tarot’s Legacy’ was the outcome of the effort, an album that includes heavy metal songs, done with good craftsmanship and in memory of Tarot.

Just at the moment of things becoming a bit brighter again, a next stroke of fate hit the band. Lead guitarist Martin Winkler, a Stormwitch veteran from the more recent era, passed away in 2019. Again it was willpower and a mindset of not giving up that was needed for Kauffmann and Langer to ‘re-group’ the band for a next time and to keep Witchbound alive.

‘End of Paradise’, with a release date on Walpurgis night, couldn’t have been done without the passion of the two mainman and fortunately the guys followed their heart. The second Witchbound album takes a while to grow. The first time I listened to the 14 songs plus intro, I listened to a solid longplayer that became better with every spin.

‘Prelude’ is the door opener, leading the fast and bombastic ‘Battle of Kadesh’. What pays back right away is the decision to work with two singers. Natalie Pereira dos Santos and Tobias Schwenk share the vocal duties. Both voices harmonize in good fashion and helps Witchbound to tell tales with their songs instead of merely performing lyrics. The interactivity is certainly a plus that comes with ‘End of Paradise’.

With ‘Interstellar Odyssey’ the Stormwitch heritage breaks through, although in a contemporary context, paving the way towards the stamping title track. Pereira dos Santos voice shines brightly, as on the entire album, with one exception. I can understand that an album from Witchbound, also considering the history, needs some hoarse witch-screams. Yet they are on ‘Torquemada’ a distraction from an actually good song. Fortunately it’s the only weak moment on the ‘End of Paradise’.

A song that finds the sweet spot of melody and heavy guitar is ‘Sea of Sorrow’ and it’s the following ‘Foreign Shores’ that brings some celtic-influenced pirate style metal to the plate. Furthermore we have the anthemic ‘As long as we can rock’ and the calm ‘Our Hope’, ending an album that demands a few spins. Songs might not stick right away and instead grow slowly. It’s definitely worth to spend some time with ‘End of Paradise’.

Come nearer, come nearer
You can’t resist their might
At Walpurgis night”

Stormwitch”Walpurgis Night”

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Prelude
  2. Battle of Kadesh
  3. Interstellar Odyssey
  4. End of Paradise
  5. Carved in Stone
  6. Flags of Freedom
  7. Torquemada
  8. Nevermore
  9. Last Divide
  10. Sea of Sorrow
  11. Foreign Shores
  12. Dance of the Dead
  13. These Tears
  14. As long as we can rock
  15. Our Hope

Label: El Puerto Records

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: April 30th, 2021

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