Review by Greg Maki
If Satan ran a nightclub, there would be no better choice for house band than Portland, Oregon’s Bewitcher.
Self-billed as “Satanic speed metal” and “heavy metal at the speed of Satan,” this band has been raising hell since 2013, releasing its self-titled debut in 2016 and its follow-up, “Under the Witching Cross,” in 2019. Making the leap to Century Media Records for album number three, “Cursed Be Thy Kingdom,” Bewitcher has broadened its approach, incorporating more traditional metal influences and (relatively) slower tempos, leading to a bigger and, I would argue, a heavier, more dynamic sound without losing the blood-soaked, demonic imagery.
In other words, this is very much the same blasphemous band from records one and two, just with a little more groove sprinkled in among the propulsive, driving riffs and the occasional anthemic, early ‘80s-style chorus. Don’t go in expecting anything with the pop sheen that is synonymous with that decade, however; vocalist/guitarist M. von Bewitcher’s tones are as snarling and uncompromising as ever.
With 10 tracks—an acoustic intro followed by nine absolute bangers—clocking in at under 40 minutes, “Cursed Be Thy Kingdom” is a throwback album in the best sense, recalling familiar, classic bands (decide for yourself which ones) while forging its own identity under the watchful eye of Satan himself. It’s a formula destined to put a smile on the face of even the most demonic of listeners.
Century Media Records – April 16, 2021