Bewitched – Spiritual Warfare Review

Originally written by Tim Pigeon

Bewitched is a veteran Swedish act on their fifth full-length album, but they are new to me. I can’t tell you where this album of old-school thrash metal rates compared to the rest of their discography, but I can say that it stands on its own merits (most of the time). Spiritual Warfare has a thick blackened edge on their thrash, which makes sense considering that half of the band is in Naglfar.

Vargher brings a raspy, gritty voice to the album, falling somewhere between clean and harsh, but never pretty to listen to – which fits the album well. The production is reasonably clear and the simple distorted tone of the guitars easily cuts through the mix. There is probably a bassist here too, but I can’t tell, except for a few chords that really have a low rumble.

The album opens up fast with “Fucked by Fire”, a bare-bones necksnapper of a song. Nothing fancy here, just dirty, primal thrash. The pace slows dramatically with the song “When Darkness Comes”, which rides on a string of drawn-out notes. They pick it up a bit in the middle of the song, but that only reinforces my belief that Bewitched should always play fast.  “Black Burning Hatred” is another solid track – still fast, but with a more upbeat tempo. “My Skin Loves the Steel” is another barnburner, with that picking and tone that bands like Absu use to great effect.

If Bewitched wrote a whole album of vicious thrash, I’d be giving this album a great score, but when they slow down, apathy sets in – at least to my ears. I don’t know which style they primarily played in the past, but I’m guessing they’ve lightened up somewhat over the years. There are some gems on this album, however, and that half of the album is worth an investigation.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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