ARKHAM WITCH - LEGENDS OF THE DEEP (Metal On Metal Records)
(Review by Stefan)
I was first introduced to this UK based band on “Compendium Of Metal Vol. 5” compilation album, released by Metal On Metal Records. Among the awesome acts I had already known, Arkham Witch was still unknown to me. I started looking for their background info and found out they were formed in Keighley, England by singer/guitarist Simon Iff? (ex-The Lamp Of Thoth and ex-Ironstorm) and drummer Emily Ningauble who also played in TLOT before. As far as their lyrics are concerned, they are inspired by US authors like R.E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft, which means that Arkham Witch’s songs are all about fictional fantasy, sword and sorcery type of topics. Both Simon and Emily went to the studio to record their first, five song demo in 2009. Later on, they made a wise decision to recruit a couple of new members – first it was bassist John ‘Saxondale’ Demaine (ex-Ironstorm) who joined forces, and then the second guitar player has been found in Aldo 'Dodo' Doom from UK Thrash Metal outfit Let ‘Em Burn and also Ironstorm!
This line-up extension was an important step forward for a future successful career. Starting from there, all went very good… new songs were written and the band participated in a few festivals such as Doomsday IV and Dublin Doom Day, where Arkham Witch tried to convince the audience with their style and musical skills… and they passed the test with flying colours!
The release of their debut opus “On Crom’s Mountain” was a little postponed due to their participation in the renowned Hammer Of Doom festival in Germany where Arkham Witch gave the best of themselves (and shared the stage with their idols Pentagram). Even though the show took place in the very early afternoon, the present Metalheads were enthusiastic and gave them a tremendously good feedback. Mission was accomplished and the debut album eventually saw the light of day in 2011 though Barbarian Wrath Records. I haven’t heard that album up until now so I have to skip to focus on their brand new album entitled “Legions Of The Deep”.
With all my respect for other record companies, I’d like to thank God they signed a deal with a label like Metal On Records! Especially for this label’s 5th edition of the glorious “Compendium Of Metal” CD, Arkham Witch created the song ‘For Metal’. A gracious gesture of the band, I think done as a token of appreciation to MOM. This song was my first contact with the band and I was pleasantly surprised!
With much impatience I have waited for their new effort “Legions Of The Deep”. The CD is adorned with the great cover art depicting Cthulhu (by Jowita Kaminska herself), the booklet includes all the necessary information about the band, cool full-colour pictures, lyrics and stuff… professionalism all the way! Ten songs on board and let me say that if you’re not hooked on the mighty forces of very early 80s Heavy Metal, you better grab your things and go! Arkham Witch reflects the roots of Heavy Metal music in all their glory. All this intertwined with NWOBHM and Traditional Doom influences, I think it can give you a pretty clear idea about the style Arkham Witch play.
“Legions Of The Deep” is an album that sounds as if it was from over 20 years ago, an old school type of Heavy Metal effort produced as it should be… totally vintage style! Having experienced the entire 80s Metal scene myself, this album feels like pure nostalgia and brings back so many unforgettable memories… those were the days of my life!
‘David Lund’ keeps you wide awake for a running time of 8+ minutes. Heroic/epic/boozy style of vocals deliver the goods while the guitar riffs sound harder than hell. Do not expect spectacular twists, as, like mentioned before, Arkham Witch are among us all to show their appreciation towards Heavy Metal music from a couple of decades ago and it’s exactly that what makes them so appealing. They belong to the category of bands playing Metal by following their own heart instead of pretending, and damn sure, that’s the right spirit to me. ‘Iron Shadows In The Moon’ brings even more pleasure to my ears due to the addition of good old NWOBHM influences. Leo Stivala from Malta based doomsters Forsaken has lent his awesome vocal skills to the title track, and yes, the end result is darn good! It's obvious that the band has a lot of fun while creating their songs, some of the tracks have a humorous character, but all has been done without losing grip on the musical aspect.
Seeing the band live must be one hell of a great experience… delivering old school Metal with a whole lotta conviction and passion… I’ll raise my pint to that! Good effort by a band that is convincing all the way – they might not win an award for originality but I don’t care at all about that… this is pure, traditional, doomy seasoned Heavy Metal music for those thrilled by the famous forces of Witchfinder General, Pentagram, Cirith Ungol, Saint Vitus, Hell, Judas Priest and the likes. Order your own copy right HERE.
My Points: 84 / 100