In the world of Heavy Metal music there is no doubt a saturation of acts floating around. Difficult to keep up with the onslaught of new material delivered on a daily basis, fortunately there are some that stand out, and this would include Switzerland’s Burning Witches. A band that lies more within the realm of traditional Heavy Metal than anything else, their music features some great guitar riffs, soaring vocals, and a distinctive atmosphere.
Formed back in 2015, Burning Witches put out a demo in 2016 and it immediately earned attention. From here, they worked hard for the next couple of years before signing on with Nuclear Blast, releasing Hexenhammer in 2018. This was followed up with Dance with the Devil in 2020, The Witch of the North in 2021, but now in 2023 they offer Metal lovers more with The Dark Tower.
The band’s fifth overall studio album, and first a part of the Napalm Records lineup, The Dark Tower was released back on May 5th complete with 13 tracks to offer. A rather lengthy collection, the consistent lineup of Vocalist Laura Guldemond, Bassist Jeanine Grob, Guitarists Romana Kalkuhl and Larissa Ernst, along with Drummer Lala Frischknecht, join forces to create songs that really offer something for everyone. What this means is you have your speedy, straight ahead Metal killers like “Unleash the Beast,” “Renegade,” and “World on Fire,” but also less in your face ones to soak in as well.
Really a matter of personal taste, if you love headbangers, you have all of that here, but if you are more attracted to more melodic, dark, thoughtful compositions, those also are present. In truth, while the blazing Metal songs do rock, the true standout on The Dark Tower is the really beautiful “Tomorrow,” but also the title-track where Guldemond’s vocals match some great guitar riffs perfectly.
This is while other cuts like “Arrow of Time” and the diverse tempo changing “Into the Unknown” also shine brightly. Beyond this, if you have heard the bonus edition of The Dark Tower, Burning Witches’ also covers Ozzy Osbourne’s “Shot in The Dark” and W.A.S.P.’s “I Wanna Be Somebody.” Not throwaways, they both are executed with passion, and their rendition of “Shot in The Dark” is one of the best around.
It is easy to see that Burning Witches are a highly motivated and determined band. After all, putting out five albums in less than a decade is really impressive within itself. That said, it would be really interesting to see them craft more material in the vein of “Tomorrow” or 2021’s “Lady of the Woods.” Furthermore, it will be fascinating to see the band collaborate with Guitarist Courtney Cox for future studio work seeing that just a few months ago she became a full-time member.
Overall, Burning Witches are a band which should not be overlooked, and nor should The Dark Tower, that is why Cryptic Rock gives it 4 out of 5 stars.