Circle of Witches – Natural Born Sinners (Sliptrick Records)Monday, 20th May 2019
Intertwining an affinity for heavy metal and doom, Italian band Circle of Witches sign with Sliptrick Records for their third full-length Natural Born Sinners. Originating in 2007, it’s been five years since their last effort Rock the Evil – gaining two new members in the interim with bassist Tony Farabella and second guitarist Joe Dardano. Developing a concept record of sorts with fire as the central element, unleashing tales of riot through key rebels in history, religion, anthropology, and literature (Spartacus, Anton Lavey, and Lucifer among others) gives the quartet a steady stream of darker/evil content that matches the heavy anthems present here.
The doom side of the proceedings sits in that classic mold (no stoner accents), the type of low-tuned, churning rhythms and semi-groove passages for the main hooks of “The Oracle” and “Death to the Inquisitor” that brings thoughts of 80’s Candlemass and Dio-period Black Sabbath to the forefront. The guitar and drum tempo attack contains lots of NWOBHM tenacity and feel, right out of the gate “Tongue of Misery” bleeds for the cause, the wah-wah lead break action sprinkled in against an addictive mid-tempo riff foundation and choir-led chorus ‘burning….fire!’. Guitarist Mario Bove doubles as vocalist, and it’s his lower, engaging melodic delivery that will probably grab the lion’s share of attention for the group. Imagine an intertwining mix of Brian Ross (Satan, Blitzkrieg), Pete Steele and Attila Dorn for Powerwolf and that will give you an inkling as to the unique abilities that make for goose bump/ hair standing on edge activities for highlights such as “The Black House” and the adequately Grand Magus-oriented epic “Spartacus (Prophecy of Riot)”. Gregorian chants allow the shorter “Deus Vult” to provide the listener dynamic context, while serious headbanging should take place near the conclusion of the record for “You Belong to Witches” – drummer Joey Coppola throwing in shuffling double kick and energetic fill mechanics.
It’s always exciting to discover new bands you would otherwise never hear about as they move up the ranks on the international landscape. Considering the crossover appeal of traditional heavy metal and classic doom, Circle of Witches can gain a broader audience through the right exposure and subsequent live support for Natural Born Sinners.