Decibel Geek faithful, may I present all the way from Abruzzo, Italy, Witchunter! This old school heavy/speed metal band began life in 2007. They are comprised of vocalist Steve Di Leo, guitarist Federico “Ace” Lustini, drummer Luca “The Filter” Cetroni, guitarist Silvio “Chuck” Verdecchia and bassist Bastia “BloodOilDrinker”. I have to ask: is “BloodOilDrinker” what shows on your driver’s license and passport? Since inception in 2007 Witchunter have expelled a self-titled, self-produced demo in 2008, and a split with Witchcurse in 2009 titled Defenders of the Past on Heavy Forces Records. 2010 saw the full-length, Crystal Demons, issued via High Roller Records followed by the live 7″, Alive in Europe, in 2011. Now in 2016 after what appears to be a 5-year break, Witchunter offered up for consideration, Back on the Hunt courtesy of Blasphemous Art Records as of September 2016.
Witchunter – Back on the Hunt
To say that Back on the Hunt is steeped in old school metal would be a gross understatement. Throughout Back on the Hunt I can pick out hints of early Saxon and Diamond Head and of course Iron Maiden.
Proceedings begin with a 1:42 intro titled “Back on the Hunt”. Personally, I really hate what I see as pointless intros to an album. But they do seem to be all the rage of late, maybe I’m just becoming a cranky old fart! From there we are into the meat and potatoes with “Lady in White”. The tone of the album is set with this five and a half minutes of pure NWOBHM inspired glory that took me a couple of spins to fully digest. I found the chorus of “Vultures Stalking” to be a bit of a strain. The lyrics just don’t seem to fit well or perhaps it may be a bit of a language barrier. Not my top choice on Back on the Hunt.
I have included a YouTube video below for the track “Nightmare”. This is where Back on the Hunt really begins to gather steam as the album progresses. “Hounds of Rock” is a great cut driving home the obvious influences of Witchunter. Another nod to the greats follows with “Midnight Sin”. I didn’t dislike the previous tracks, but these two approach pure gold status! Another speed metal ripper appears in “Losing Control” and “Lucifer’s Blade” may serve to be my pick for best on the album. It has a snarl and thunder that resonates well in my ears. This second Witchunter full-length really does pick up steam as it motors on.
These Italian Witchunters obviously have a couple of other influences found in Led Zeppelin and Thin Lizzy. The final two tracks contained on Back on the Hunt are covers from these two classic bands. From the Led Zeppelin archives, we get the 9:33 opus that is “Achilles Last Stand” and a fine job too I might add! Finally, as a CD bonus track, Witchunter have included a ripping rendition of Thin Lizzy‘s “Are You Ready” and another great job!
I really have to say thanks to Witchunter guitarist Federico. He reached out to me via email with a request to review Back on the Hunt for Decibel Geek. And I’m glad that he did! If not for that Witchunter surely would have lain undiscovered by The Meister for an indefinite period. And that would be a tragedy. I also want to say a special thanks for the awesome promo poster 🙂