Buried By Time & Dust
10/17/2008 - Review by: Raising Iron
After a long 25 year hiatus, Witchfinder General have returned with the aptly titled "Resurrected", and for those Doom Metal aficionados out there aware of the bands' reconvening in 2006 to give us a new album, this has been greatly anticipated. The only founding member to return is guitarist and principal songwriter, Phil Cope, but Rod Hawks – bass, and Dermot Redmond – drums, both spent a couple of the latter years with the band in their short-lived incarnation of the ‘80's. The biggest change here is the singer. The mysteriously monikered Zeeb Parkes, who, according to the band, wishes to remain anonymous to this day, is absent, and a somewhat equally enigmatic vocalist by the name of Gary Martin now fills in at the mic. A quick search reveals very little about him, or why he was chosen to front this legendary outfit, other than he has several years experience as a front man in a band; one of them being Permission to Rock. Anyways, his singing is merely passable, the perplexing styling of Zeeb Parkes, being quite irreplaceable, working against almost anyone the band could've brought in. Gary's vocals are unique, his nicotine and tar-stained throaty warble finding a home in these squarely doom-laden, NWOBHM-esque songs. He definitely takes getting used to, or maybe it's just hard to imagine anyone else singing for WG, as the previous albums, being as old as they are at this point, are now firmly engrained in the brain.
Anyways, on to the eight tracks, and if you're a fan of doom metal, you're going to dig this. Old school analog production is on hand, and the guitar tone will have you remembering those days of yore, listening to albums with friends in a smoke-filled basement while debating who the coolest band is on the planet. Track four is a short, acoustic instrumental, parting the heavier doom of the album into two, almost equal parts. Track six, entitled "A Night to Remember", is full-on NWOBHM party glory though, recalling the upbeat moments of bands like Saxon, Savage, or Holocaust. As for the rest, most of it recalls the verve of early Trouble, Black Sabbath, and of course, themselves in their heyday.
Yet this 42-minute disc is decidedly different than what Witchfinder General bestowed to us in the '80s, the once youthful exuberance of a band somehow doing things bizarrely "off-the-cuff" now replaced by a wiser and smarter bunch of gentleman who've given us a very purposefully written production. They've obviously taken every painstaking care to make sure all the details of these songs were effectuated appropriately, making things feel a bit forced. But hey, we're getting new Witchfinder General songs here, so let's not complain too loudly, except for maybe, "where are the girls?"
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