Witchbreed - Heretic Rapture
Ascendance Records
Dark Metal
13 songs (49:33)
Release year: 2009
Witchbreed, Ascendance Records
Reviewed by Goat

Featuring a former member of Moonspell on bass, Portuguese ‘Dark Metal’ experimentalists Witchbreed quickly prove themselves closer to the base Gothic Metal pantheon that they would like to admit. From their male musicians to their sexy female frontperson, Witchbreed fit in easily to the usual Gothic Metal B-set, and yet a good listen to debut full-length Heretic Rapture dispels that somewhat. For one, the riffs are a good deal more varied than your usual Epica clone, switching between Doom and Thrash in first track proper Symphony For The Fallen alone and proving themselves to be something altogether more experimental from the moment that vocalist Ruby opens her mouth and doesn’t shrill her operatic-trained chords out, but instead takes a more mid-toned style and does bloody well with it indeed. Godamnit, but Witchbreed have broken me – yes, they take influence from Power, Black, Thrash and Gothic Metal and form it into a single mutant crossbreed that not only looks extremely healthy, but sounds so too, and no, I can’t break them into a genre but must instead rely on that hated made-up ‘Dark Metal’ label.

For each moment that Witchbreed seem like they will disintegrate happily into nice Gothic Metal territory, there’s a moment like the Thrash intro to Rebel Blood proving this wrong, and so it makes writing about Heretic Rapture quite a difficult experience. Nice, catchy songs like Thy Eclipse are frequent, but there’s a faint Eastern quality to the melodies that mixes well with Ruby’s vocals and the impressive sticksmanship of drummer Tiago. What does hold the band back from top marks are that the choruses of songs are all rather similar, Ruby doing her melancholic-but-epic thing over and over, and unless you’re really into it Heretic Rapture can seem rather repetitive. Not that it’s a bad album – the playing is stellar, the frequent solos excellent, Medusa has the requisite growling, and Fang & Claw some nice orchestration – but it makes it hard to recommend wholeheartedly. Improved songwriting and more variety would make this a must-have; as it is, it’s a good but not great album. Remember the name, however – this is their debut, after all, and future albums are sure to paper over the cracks.

Killing Songs :
Symphony For The Fallen, Rebel Blood, Fang & Claw
Goat quoted 73 / 100
Other albums by Witchbreed that we have reviewed:
Witchbreed - Descending Fires (EP) reviewed by Ken and quoted 85 / 100
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