Nima : Stormwitch is one of the pioneers of German heavy metal and has a legendary status especially because of the fantastic albums they released in the 80s. Unfortunately, also Stormwitch was a victim of change in the 90s and released some pretty weak albums. Although they did make a few good records after the reunion in 2002, the magic and the genius of the first four albums has never been equaled.
Three years (which for Stormwitch-standards is pretty fast) after the last record, ’Season Of The Witch’, vocalist/figurehead Andy Mück and his companions come with a new album at the end of this month. There isn’t really much to say about this eleventh long player, because this is simply typical Stormwitch and immediately recognizable, and a logical continuation of its predecessors. However, the band has opted for a slightly more sturdy and more old-fashioned approach here. Although the album definitely doesn’t lack that "dark romantic" that especially in last years has played a more and more important role, the majority of the material is more up-tempo. In general the album rocks more than its predecessor and it is mainly heavy metal that has the upper hand here. 'Songs Of Steel', for example, is an anthemic mid-tempo pounder with beautiful vocal melodies, which also applies to 'Ancient Times' and its bulky headbanging riffs. Songs like 'Choir Of The Damned', 'Life Is Not A Dream' and 'Ghost Of Manfield's Park' also have tasty riffs and above all a delightful 80s' atmosphere. The rest of the songs also have their moments and all in all the material is stronger than the last record. In that respect 'Bound To The Witch' suites me a lot better than 'Season Of The Witch'.
Nevertheless, and despite the fact that there is excellent musicianship, Andy Mück puts down a strong performance and the album meets all quality standards, the real spark is missing and the material doesn’t really make a lasting impression. Things are definitely going in the right direction again, but this 'Bound To The Witch' just barely rises above the average. All in all, this is a very respectable and enjoyable album, but I would rather grab the first four albums a lot quicker.