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Witching Hour - ...And Silent Grief Shadows The Passing Moon (2018) - Review

Band: Witching Hour
Album title: ...And Silent Grief Shadows The Passing Moon
Release date: 21 December 2018
Label: Hells Headbangers

01. ...And Silent Grief Shadows The Passing Moon / Once Lost Souls Return
02. From Beyond They Came
03. Sorrow Blinds His Ghastly Eyes
04. Behold Those Distant Skies
05. The Fading Chime Of A Graveyard Bell
06. As I Walk Among Sepulchral Ruins

It's been a seven year wait, but Germany's Witching Hour are set to release their third album, ...And Silent Grief Shadows The Passing Moon, with a new sound and energy, on 21st December via Hell's Headbangers.

The record sits in stark contrast to their two previous albums by incorporating all clean vocals. Something that's sure to rub some old school fans the wrong way. The vocals pour out like a young Oderus Urungus (ex-Gwar) and though this makes the band come off as less vicious, it also showcases their ability to evolve, adapt and expand their sound. It makes the album feel more like a pure thrash record than blackened thrash. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

How does the playing hold up? ...And Silent Grief Shadows The Passing Moon can loosely be described as crust punk with a sense of melody. Your standard galloping thrash drums are here in bulk and there's hardly a slow moment outside of closer "As I Walk Among Sepulchral Ruins" and the build for the mouthful opener "...and Silent Grief Shadows The Passing Moon / Once Lost Souls Return". The guitar work is the real star here. The aforementioned first track contains a massive, ripping solo that would make Glen Tipton blush and each track there on contains some blistering riffs and - dare I say it! - almost power metal level soloing.

So what doesn't work? Sadly, tracks two through five (with the slight exception to track four, "Behold Those Distant Skies") are mostly indistinguishable from each other. During both of my first two listens through, I found myself checking to make sure that I didn't have the same song on repeat. It wasn't. It was just that what I was hearing sounded that much like the previous song.

Though this repetition does bog down the movement of the album, I've found that each song is still effective when listened to on its own instead of track after track. And it's not to say that the consistency is a bad thing. The songs are still fun and there's plenty of headbanging to be had. Witching Hour finds what works and sticks with it.

What ...And Silent Grief Shadows The Passing Moon lacks in brutality is made up for with neck-break energy and epic shredding. Though it's nothing groundbreaking, Witching Hour manages to add new energy to a classic metal formula. This is a trip to hell that we all should take this winter.

Review written by: Will Ring
Rating: 8/10