Seven Witches - Amped
Regain Records
Traditional Metal/Hard Rock
9 songs (40'30")
Release year: 2006
Seven Witches, Regain Records
Reviewed by Alex

Even though Seven Witches has been around for a while, it certainly flew under my radar screen, with only the debut Second War in Heaven represented in my collection. Could it be that I have been slowly drifting away from the traditional metal pastures, or could it be that there is so much Jack Frost out there to track down? C’mon, the man is in Seven Witches, does solo stuff, has credits by participating in The Bronx Casket Co., Savatage, Metallium and Rob Rock. I may have even missed something on this list.

Thus, I can’t say that I have been there to witness Seven Witches “progression” and Amped is practically a fresh start for me as far as this band is concerned. Having only heard Second War in Heaven I honestly expected a mix of traditional/power metal, but Amped is actually different, quite a bit more hard rock in nature, with album’s songs not adhering to the single running formula.

West Nile (very interesting subject matter if you like the description of what this virus does to the body) and Sunnydale High start things off more along the lines of the classic traditional metal, heavy choppy riffs and periodic double bass outbursts in West Nile and very Judas Priest/Primal Fear riffing in Sunnydale High. Dishonor Killings has a predominant melodic series of chords with syncopation adding quite a bit of heaviness. And then Seven Witches does not get back on the beaten path until the very end when Widows and Orphans mixes galloping Iron Maiden staccato and softer piano laden balladic portions.

The offshoots Seven Witches explore on Amped may very well be the design of Jack Frost himself, they may not even feel like offshoots to the band, but I tend to think that Alan Tecchio (Non-Fiction, Watchtower), the new vocalist of the band, could be a reason for this as well. His voice, not typical for a heavy metal singer, simply dictates trying the variety, almost trying to find the best stylistic fit. In spots on Sunnydale High his voice inflections reminded me of John Bush, and by the time edgy rockers GP Fix and Red entered the mix I was convinced Amped has a lot in common with Symbol of Salvation, one underappreciated Armored Saint record. Tecchio is really trying to be multifaceted, one minute he soars, the other goes for a masculine lower register. On Dishonor Killings he even lets loose with a cool scream or two. As versatile as he is trying to be, I could not get into a comfort zone with Alan. His lower register voice lacks punch, sounding like many other radio rockers, and his clean crooning is not passionate enough to convince me completely, dragging down a softer balladic Be. It is not that he can’t hit his high notes, he can, but it is both true power and gentleness he lacks.

Flesh for Fantasy has obvious gothic influences, synthesizers and all, and could be the result of Jack having collaborated with DD Verni in The Bronx Casket Co. Out of the main stream of the album, this song is different, but not bad, something I can’t quite say about Fame Gets You Off, with its terrible chorus, repeating same chords-same lyrics for nearly two minutes towards the end.

The musicianship on the record showcases experienced metal artists sticking to the band framework. Seven Witches is the band, not Jack Frost solo project, and it is obvious. Solid drum sound is also quite of note.

Many listens in I still have not figured out whether Amped being quite diverse is its blessing or its downfall. The album, almost purposefully, does not go for a recognizable individual signature, like, let’s say every Iced Earth album, where you know from the get-go what you are about to hear. American, gruff version of traditional metal, Amped is definitely not only that, bearing some gothic and modern hard rock influences. How it all fits together will be a matter of everyone’s individual taste.

Killing Songs :
West Nile, Sunnydale High, Widows and Orphans
Alex quoted 66 / 100
Other albums by Seven Witches that we have reviewed:
Seven Witches - Deadly Sins reviewed by Marty and quoted 80 /100
Seven Witches - Year Of The Witch reviewed by Marty and quoted 74 / 100
Seven Witches - Passage to the Other Side reviewed by Jay and quoted 82 / 100
Seven Witches - Xiled To Infinity And One reviewed by Mike and quoted 85 / 100
Seven Witches - City Of Lost Souls reviewed by Chris and quoted 44 / 100
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