Seven Witches

Amped

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Revolving doors are quite prevalent in the metal, punk, hardcore, and indie rock worlds. Inevitably, there will be bands that experience numerous lineup changes yet manage to keep touring and recording because someone is determined to keep the band active regardless of how many musicians he or she goes through. Seven Witches is such a band. Between 1999 and 2005, Seven Witches was the epitome of a revolving door; singers, bassists, and drummers came and went. But the constant was always guitarist/founder Jack Frost, and this early 2006 release finds the ex-Savatage member leading a lineup that also includes drummer Jeff Curenton, bassist Kevin Bolembach, and lead singer Alan Tecchio (who some folks might know from the bands Hades, Watchtower, and Non-Fiction). Amped is Tecchio's first album with Seven Witches, and he goes for an old-school vocal style in the Bruce Dickinson/Ronnie James Dio vein -- an approach that is highly appropriate given that Seven Witches is a power metal outfit with a strong '80s fixation. Amped, quite frankly, isn't nearly as risk-taking as the albums Frost has recorded with the Bronx Casket Co., an excellent, goth-drenched alternative metal band. But originality isn't everything -- and while Amped isn't the least bit groundbreaking, it is a decent effort that finds Frost continuing to wear his Priest/Iron Maiden/Grim Reaper/Manowar heritage like a badge of honor. Original material dominates this CD, although Tecchio and Frost sound quite inspired on an unlikely remake of Billy Idol's "Flesh for Fantasy." The original version was such a classic that trying to emulate Idol would have been pointless -- and so, Seven Witches does the smart thing and puts a different spin on "Flesh for Fantasy," which works surprisingly well as headbanger music. Bottom line: Amped isn't a breathtaking masterpiece, but it's a respectable effort that's worth hearing if one is a die-hard fan of '80s power metal.

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