March 24, 2024

Germany’s satanic heavy metallers Attic are here once again when we need another dose of falsetto vocals so desperately. I have given up on waiting for the infinitely delayed new King Diamond and Mercyful Fate albums, so this is a much welcome return. Attic have never been fast on putting out new material, but this time they needed almost seven years to complete Return Of The Witchfinder, which is finally coming out on April 5th.

After an ominous intro, Darkest Rites picks us up exactly where Sanctimonious finished and it’s a sigh of relief to hear this fantastic band doing their magic. There are some minor complaints, which I would like to address at the start of this review, so that we concentrate on the tons of praise I also have. One is the overexposed mix of the vocals which sound just a little bit too loud and suffocating the guitars and the other is a bit connected to the first – the sound and mastering sound slightly muffled, but maybe that was a conscious choice. Who knows. Now, most of you probably know, the singing style of Meister Cagliostro is an acquired taste, with a predominant use of falsettos, much more often that King Diamond did even in Don’t Break The Oath, but, once again, this is one of Attic’s charms, for me. I just think that they have a vocalist showing a great voice and potential when singing in a lower register too, so they may encourage the man to showcase his full range.

There is a touch of experimentation in the new album with the use (albeit in two songs only) of blast beats, which I think is very well done and suits Hailstorm And Tempest and Synodus Horrenda perfectly. The choruses in The Thief’s Candle, Azrael and the title track are among the strongest in the band’s history, and the overall impression is of much greater attention paid to crafting more memorable and direct melodies. Offerings To Baalberith, for example, is so masterfully composed and structured, yet at the same time hitting with a classic guitar harmony, and is one more evidence of the amazing work of band founder Katte and the “new guy” on guitar Max Povver, who is the only change in the line-up since the last album.

The album ends with a trademark epic heavy metal hammer, Synodus Horrenda, which apart from the above-mentioned tremolo picking and double-bass drums, steals the show completely with hair-raising guitar melodies from 3:55 onwards. Beautiful. You probably don’t need a reminder that the lyrics are another bone-chilling horror story in the best King Diamond tradition, which I will not spoil for you and we should also give some thumbs up for the killer old school artwork by Daniel Valeriani (Dark Funeral, Mayhem, Vltimas). Return Of The Witchfinder lives up to expectations and is already among my personal highlights for 2014. Now, let’s hear these songs live, can we?

8,5/10


Attic in Facebook

Return Of The Witchfiner will be out on April 5th on multiple formats and can be pre-ordered from HERE