Witchbreed - Descending Fires (EP)
Gothic Rock/Metal
4 songs (21:10)
Release year: 2006
Reviewed by Ken

The gothic rock/metal genre is an ever flowing river, ushering along a steady procession of monotonous and predictable bands; ultimately sending them cascading over a waterfall into obscurity, oblivion. Some bands, however, manage to separate themselves from the flock. Some do this through originality, but originality is a rarity in music; so more often than not that separation comes through the simple act of creating something better than the average—a light in the dark. With Descending Fires, Portugal's Witchbreed definitely stand out from the flock, but they still remain close.

Witchbreed began life in 2005. Founded by Ares (bass), former bassist and founding member of Moonspell (he left the band after Irreligious), and Dikk (guitars), Witchbreed was initially less a real band but a creative collective of two musicians just writing music together. It wasn't until hearing the ethereal and enchanting voice of Ruby did they decide to make Witchbreed a full-fledged band. The group was solidified with the addition of Filipe on guitars and Tiago on drums. The first offering of these five individuals comes in the shape Descending Fires.

Dawn breaks on Descending Fires with “Book Of Dreams,” a standard—think Flowing Tears, Elis—piece of mid-paced gothic rock with a great melody, an excellent chorus, and some metal riffs thrown in sparingly to add a little charisma. It isn’t until the second and third tracks, “Sleeping Gods” and “Witchbreed,” that the band unveils their ability to step beyond the shadow of their all-too-similar brethren; each song injecting a fair share of dynamic, traditional metal riffs—albeit played slower—rather than the standard, driving power chords typical of the genre. Both songs, like “Book Of Dreams,” are consistently good, with a great, melodic and captivating flow. Night falls upon Descending Fires with the epic closer “Medusa – Angel Of Pain,” a moving piece emboldened by Ruby’s enthralling vocals, orchestral flourishes, some perfectly-placed death metal riffs and growls, and yet another masterful and hook-heavy chorus.

According to the band’s bio, Ares and Dikk recorded eleven tracks during those initial sessions; it’s a shame, then, that only four have surfaced on Descending Fires. “Book Of Dreams,” while, indeed, a good song, shows that the band hasn’t completely stepped away from the multitude of gothic rock/metal bands wallowing in similarity and exiguous renown. On “Sleeping Gods” and—especially!—“Medusa – Angel Of Pain” Witchbreed show they are very capable of carving their own little niche in this genre rife with sameness. Whether they choose to continue to forge along that path remains to be seen, but, despite its namesake, Descending Fires burns strong and bright.

AUDIO: Book Of Dreams, Sleeping Gods, Witchbreed and Medusa – Angel In Pain (MySpace links)

Note: In time these links will likely becoming outdated.

Killing Songs :
Sleeping Gods and Medusa - Angel In Pain
Ken quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Witchbreed that we have reviewed:
Witchbreed - Heretic Rapture reviewed by Goat and quoted 73 / 100
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