A Grim Apparition
posted on 1/2010 By:
Witches Mark’ s debut EP, A Grim Apparition, features the sort of kickass cover art that would have had me buying it blind back in the day. Fortunately, the music contained therein avoids the cursed blind-buyer’s remorse. Fitting comfortably alongside like-minded acts such as Pharaoh, Witches Mark play reverent traditional metal that is loaded with heaps of speed, thrash and early power metal. The Texas sextet’s sound reminds of Omen and Helstar, and occasionally conjures the earliest Hammers of Misfortune and even a touch of Dream Theater’s When Dream and Day Unite. Add some doom here, a little black metal flavor there, and a dash of melodic death, and it’s clear that, despite their devotion to the classic metal ethos, this is a band unconcerned with boundaries (just check out all that’s going on in the title track).
An exemplary opening track, “Salem’s Fire” literally explodes in its first seconds and features a ton of rippin’ riffs, excellent vocal melody, great soloing and a satisfying climax to finish it off. Legitimate burner, this one. The following three songs take a turn toward the epic, with haunting, harmonized (layered) vocals and moody melody stretching each over the six minute mark. These are engaging songs that capitalize on fine performances from both guitarists and tastefully effective keyboard work within a pretty progressive framework. The only trouble, really, is that these songs still feel a bit underdeveloped. A few places get clumsy enough to distract, particularly in the drumming. It is hard to tell the degree to which this may be due to less than stellar production, but the end result is same.
All things considered, A Grim Apparition is an impressive first offering of classic heavy metal. What's more, with a little refinement, Witches Mark‘s prospects appear to be anything but grim.
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