Posing the auditory presence of early ‘80s NWOBHM material, the debut full-length album from Norway’s Purple Hill Witch should not only provide an awesome flashback to the past, but also a fresh dose of substance that hasn’t been as heavily explored in years. Judging by the sound and quality, some would be quick to assume Purple Hill Witch were an unheard sensation that was overshadowed by most metal prodigies emerging in the late ‘70s. In reality, they are a very young, fresh trio from Oslo who create that very sound but with many twists.
Purple Hill Witch is an album that possesses that raspy, crunchy tone of recording that bears resemblance to many heavy metal albums before highly enhanced digital software was introduced. It also is an album which features a range of tectonic hard rock/heavy metal riffage from the guitars – punchy and rhythmic but (adequately) thin to fit the tone of the album. Think Black Sabbath circa Paranoid and various licks of earlier Pentagram, Witchfinder General and Sleep.
“Queen Of The South” begins the album with a typical slow, sludgy punch, easing the listener into a paced trance before thrusting into a faster, rhythmic section which sets the tone for the remainder of the album. Throughout songs such as “The Landing” and “Purple Hill Witch”, this fluctuating of pace and vibrancy is one of the more notable points of these songs, with the latter being eerily doom-esque whilst still retaining that heavily enjoyable rock riffwork.
Vocally, Purple Hill Witch boast that echoed, clean-yet-demonic presence of a vocalist such as Ozzy Osbourne. Whilst Osbourne may have that accent that separates him from just about anybody, Purple Hill Witch follow a similar tenor that is actually one of the stronger features of their writing. The trio are immensely talented and have constructed something both fitting for generations past and present.
At times, the songs, whilst each possessing very enjoyable instrumental sections, can feel quite repetitive for the listener. Not that they are necessarily bad musically, but there are only so many solos over slow riffs that some people can take. Having said that, the solos are actually very well executed.
The experimentation of various genres and having created something very fresh at a time when heavy post-production and faultless studio production can be a band’s best friend, are both Purple Hill Witch’s standout qualities. They are clearly intent on proving that they can dish out material that was not only massively influential in its time, but also, ironically, is really innovative and new today.
A very entertaining listen that looks to bring promising fortune for the Norwegian guys.
1. Queen Of The Hill
2. Astral Booze
3. Final Procession
5. The Landing
6. Aldebaranian Voyage (Into The Sun)
7. Purple Hill Witch
Purple Hill Witch are:
Kristian – guitar/vocals
Andreas – bass
Øyvind – drums
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