June 8th, 2010
Release length: 40:44
For those aware of the band’s prior two releases, there were two different lyrical themes present. The first album had a strong Egyptian feel, while the second had a more Pagan feel, both styles expressing the album’s lyrics. Well, on The Return of the Witch, it’s as if the band tries to compress a bit of the Egyptian style of song writing from the first full-length effort into this album, while carrying the more tribal and pagan aspects of the last album into play. There is also no denying a hint of inspiration from bands like Dimmu Borgir on here thanks to spoken rhaspy vocal moments on various tracks including “Into the Fire”, The Return of the Witch” and “Necropolis”, the latter featuring some rather haunting keyboards that work well with the overall dark feeling of the song. Female singing vocals are also incorporated into the mix throughout the songs, such as during the aforementioned “Necropolis” that really add to the overall darkened atmosphere of the album, and seem to push this Necronomicon release as a more stylish symphonic Black Metal influenced Death Metal effort.
Either way, it creates a very haunting atmosphere with music that often has some Egyptian-like guitar riffs blended into the often straight forward Death Metal riffs. Each track on here is simply amazing and has a huge impact on the listener. While the band doesn’t necessarily play their songs fast, keeping them all at a pretty steady mid-tempo pace, but the use of blast beats does come into play on some of the tracks on here, like “Into the Fire” and “The Return of the Witch”, which does amp up the speed once and a while on the album and are only used when necessary, giving some songs an added bite that only enhance the flow of the material. The guitars vary greatly from song to song so there’s plenty of diversity, but one thing they all manage to capture is the feeling of a sort of tribal rituals. The fastest track on here really seems to fall on the title track, “The Return of the Witch”, which is also one of the heaviest tracks on here as well. “The Time is Now” is another great track and really acts as one of the very few straight forward Death Metal songs on here without much of tribal or symphonic aspects present on this release and shows that Necronomicon can still create a very harsh and heavy sound without relying on some kind of atmospheric condition, which will more then likely win over many people who are new to this band and don’t really care too much about if the band can set a proper ambience or not.
There really isn’t anything on this release that’s bad. Every song on here is unique and has it’s own sound. The only odd ball track on here is the song “Necropolis” which simply does not sound like anything else on the album, but the band still manages to incorporate their own signature Death Metal sound to this heavily symphonic Black Metal track to give it some distinction away from being a heavy Dimmu Borgir clone. While this is a well constructed song that drips the proper atmosphere for the album, it’s also the only one that will wind up being skipped after your first time through the album since it’s nothing all too new, doesn’t quite feel like it properly ends, but seems as if the song is still going when it cuts out to the same Industrial sound sample the song starts with. The radio static that starts the following track, “The Order of the Moon” is also a little confusing since there’s pretty much no reason for it to be there. It doesn’t really do anything to hurt the album, it’s just one of those things that feel tacked on like the samples that start and end the track before it, and the same can be said about the slow paced gothic keyboard solo on “The Order of the Moon”, which actually does wind up hurting the song a bit as it does interrupt the flow of the song.
The Return of the Witch is a highly enjoyable album that you will listen to for quite a long time before it even starts to get old. The music on here, with exception to “Necropolis”, is simply solid Death Metal that finds the band experimenting just a touch with a Black Metal approach in the background dynamics of the music. Fans of Necronomicon will easily eat this album up, as well those who are new to this band, which there will probably be many of since this album is powerful enough to really break the band out of the shadows and put them into the proper Death Metal spotlight. Hopefully the band continues to create more solid albums like this, but to shy away from some of the not so necessary keyboard aspects that appear on here would be a thing that would be a bit appreciated by many.
01. Into the Fire – 4:54
02. The Awakening – 4:50
03. The Time is Now – 3:14
04. Necropolis – 4:14
05. The Order of the Moon – 7:09
06. The Return of the Witch – 4:21
07. Lillith – 2:21
08. Alpha and Omega – 5:33
09. Seven – 4:08
|Overall Score: 7/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Napalm Records.