Bewitched
Spiritual Warfare

Over the years throwing Bathory, Celtic Frost, Mercyful Fate and Kreator in a blender along with Motorhead has worked wonders for this Swedish mainstay. Minor lineup changes have had little impact either. They have dropped the bullet belts and corpsepaint as well, going back to the black leather jackets again. They even seem to have softened on the Satanism stance.

Osmose is what started me on this band, since back then, if Osmose released it I bought it. Being a first wave throwback band composed of members of Throne of Ahaz and Diabolical Masquerade and Naglfar didn’t hurt either. Maybe it is because of the caliber of musicians united on this project that Bewitched never seemed to reach great heights, everyone expected more from them. Also I think they have always been considered a side project to the various main bands and therefore maybe not taken as seriously as they deserve. It seems everyone wants to trash them as monotonous, boring, sloppy, old fashioned, too melodic, riff happy, redundant, etc.

What pains me is they have finally released a sub par album after five that I felt were better than everyone else seems to think. Spiritual Warfare is the first time they seem to be just going through the motions. The band has not abandoned their style but nothing here stands in the same league as songs like “Holy Whore” or “Sacrifice to Satan” or “Beastchild.” I also miss all those classic Mercyful Fate moments. “Gracefallen” has a bit of the riff magic, and “Spiritual Warfare” has an aura of malevolence along with some nice solos and turns out to be one of their better slow songs, otherwise the disc is a disappointment.

Bewitched is a band that has always gotten consistent play from across the spectrum of their albums whenever I was in the mood for them, time will tell if this disc makes it into the rotation.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
December 12th, 2007

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