Witchery Symphony For The Devil

With mercury coursing through their veins, Sweden's Witchery release yet another well-crafted album as ex-Haunted riff master Patrick Jensen and company proffer snarling modern thrash stitched up expertly with sinewy might. "The Storm" begins with those atonal, almost chromatic chords that typify black metal, front-man Toxine's strained and vicious death growls, à la Carcass (with backing vocals by Séance's Johan Larsson), and Slayer-esque guitar bridges and solos that'll make your skin creep. In fact, Symphony For The Devil contains so many Slayer-isms that it makes the recent God Hates Us All seem mediocre in comparison: the "Raining Blood" chord progressions in "Called For By Death," the mid-paced "Dead Skin Mask" chugging of "Omens" and the unrelenting "Angel Of Death" attack in "Wicked." "Inquisition" sounds like a metal version of the James Bond theme, while the incredibly tight instrumental "Bone Mill" could be supercharged Motörhead flirting with At The Gates. The first section of the doomier instrumental "Hearse Of The Pharoahs" spotlights the masterful soloing of Mercyful Fate's Hank Sherman, who trades licks with bassist Sharlee D'Angelo (who also plays in Fate) during the tune's latter half. The band even re-records two old pre-Witchery tunes penned when they were known as Satanic Slaughter, as an added bonuses. It's metal so genuine that your fingers will curl involuntarily into the "W" sign like the grinning skeleton on the album's cover. (Necropolis)