Overall Score: 8.6/10 Musicianship: 8/10 Choruses: 9/10 Originality: 7/10 Pros: Huge choruses | Band sounds like they’ve been going for years Cons: Harsh vocals are hit and miss | Rather abrupt end
Witchour are a 5 piece melodic death metal group from Buenos Aires, Argentina. This August they came out of nowhere with their debut EP, “The Haunting”. When I clicked on the link, I expected it to be rather generic melodeath which wouldn’t amount to much. Boy, was I wrong.
The EP opens up with “Feel the Unknown”, through aggressive guitars laced with delicate keyboard sounds and on first impressions, you’d think this was a good, if basic, melodeath record, but the choruses are where the band show their true colours. Alejandro Souza has an extremely impressive singing voice which is utilised to full effect in these moments, and he knows how to deliver a fantastic hook. While still not particularly groundbreaking, the hard rock style choruses have the sort of energy that would make Bon Jovi envious (particularly in “The Hunger”). There is a rather excellent level of maturity in this band’s songwriting and the contrast between verse and chorus makes them stand out in the world of melodic death metal in a way which is very much lacking in the scene right now.
Having found their key selling point, Witchour tends to stick to it. The guitars are equal parts death metal chaos and classic rock melody, with harsh verses and clean choruses, but they’re able to keep each track somewhat distinctive enough to earn its own merit. The subtle use of keyboards in the background give the music extra depth and Souza’s varied vocal talents are well structured in a surprisingly excellent production job – especially considering this EP is the first release by the group. The clean vocal work in “The Hammer” are the crowning moments of this EP vocals wise, as well as the best work of guitarists Ezequiel Catalano and Federico Rodriguez, guitarists with far more ability than their age suggests.
The only problems are in the harsh vocals and the lack of variety in the 4 tracks presented. With the vocals, Souza seems to struggle at times to maintain the same intensity in his harsh vocals as he has in his cleans, with higher screams coming off as raspy and strained. While this is rarely a problem for the majority of metal fans, it can feel rather hit-and-miss and off-putting when a vocalist struggles to maintain his screams, as fans of decapitated will know. The songs all seem to follow the same sort of pattern, but considering this is their debut EP, and only 4 tracks, you can forgive them for lacking too much variation. The band is keen to make an impression and trying to do too much in such a short space of time can be jarring to any potential fan, so sticking to what you’re best at is often the best option. More variation will be needed over a full length album but taking this EP for what it is, you can’t really say this band has put a single foot wrong.