ALBUM REVIEWS            


End Of Paradise

Witchbound are a melodic metal band from Germany formed in 2014 by guitarist Stefan Kauffmann and drummer Peter Langer after the two left Stormwitch following the death of the bands founder Lee Tarot in 2013. Stefan and Peter founded Witchbound in order to finish and release the album they'd started writing with Lee - releasing 'Tarot's Legacy' in 2015. The band suffered a horrible stroke of fate in 2019, with the death of guitarist Martin Winkler - the band regrouping with a new line-up and releasing 'End Of Paradise' in 2021.    
The founding duo of Kauffmann and Langer are now joined by guitarist Julian Steiner, bass player Frank Bittermann, and vocalists Tobias Schwenk and Natalie Pereira Dos Santos - yes, that's right, two vocalists! The melodic style of Tobias and the phenomenal range of Natalie intertwine beautifully, the new album a sixty minute sonic assault of melodic power metal across an incredible fifteen songs! The opening song 'Prelude', is an atmospheric one minute of tension and anticipation leading straight into 'Battle Of Kadesh' - a thundering heavy hitter with a touch of aggression. The galloping rhythm of traditional metal is in full flight, and 'End Of Paradise' (the album) is off to a storming start!    
The pace of 'Battle Of Kadesh' is continued with the more power metal sounding 'Interstellar Odyssey'. The classic sound of the European style fills the air, with the melodious intent of 'Interstellar Odyssey' an addictive pleasure. The title song 'End Of Paradise' adopts a heavier attitude and a weighty foot stomping rhythm. Heads and feet will be nodding and stamping hard to 'End Of Paradise' (the song) as it strides on with majestic aplomb. And for the first time we get to hear a little of Natalie's amazing range as she delivers some really menacing growled vocals. The foot stomping rhythm continues with 'Carved In Stone', albeit a little more regal. And as 'Carved In Stone' wanders on, it displays a mellower feel than anything heard so far - not ballad like, more a hymn like soft rock stroll.    
And the iconic guitar sound of the NWOBHM comes bolting to the surface, as 'Flags Of Freedom' mixes traditional metal and melodic power metal. The infectious nature of 'Flags Of Freedom' is sky high, the sing a long ability off the charts, and I defy anyone to not be head nodding, foot tapping, and smiling insanely right now! Adopting a much heavier and sinister vibe, 'Torquemada' is the heaviest hitting song so far, combining pace and mid tempo stomping to great effect. Also Natalie's vocals take on the persona of a screaming, menace fuelled banshee - what a range! The energy levels have been extremely high since the album began, and show no sign of drooping - the band powering on with 'Nevermore', with both a clean and snarling growl of a vocal delivery from Natalie...think Angela Gossow! The contrast with the melodic style of Tobias is as different as chalk and cheese, night and day, and err, melodic rock and death metal.    
Pace and tempo rise up for 'Last Divide', a bouncy and highly infectious torrent of melodic metal. The catchy nature of 'Last Divide' surpasses anything that has gone before, with the album a non-stop roller coaster of entertainment - like a musical, but a metal one! 'Sea Of Sorrow' brings a feel of power ballad to the album, with the most mellow vocal performance heard so far - the dual vocal attack working in perfect harmony. And yes, you can raise your lighters high and salute a wonderful wander through every corner of ballad country. Until 'Sea Of Sorrow' changes pace and tempo, then your wander becomes a run! And whoa, where have the band gone now? 'Foreign Shores' is a swashbuckling pirate metal march! Think bands such as Alestorm, Swashbuckle, and the legendary Running Wild. So raise your tankards high, shout "ahoy", shiver your timbers, and party hard me hearties!    
Blistering pace makes an emphatic return, 'Dance Of The Dead' exploding into life with a purpose and intent more ferocious than heard anywhere else on the album. The pace slowing down somewhat as the vocals kick in, with a swaggering majestic waltz taking over the feel of 'Dance Of The Dead'. Shuddering the ground it walks on, 'These Tears' is a thumping slab of melodic metal - the sounds of traditional and power metal colliding with a bigger bang than The Large Hadron Collider could ever achieve! And as the album nears its finish, Witchbound deliver a rip roaring anthem - 'As Long As We Can Rock'. Pace and power combine perfectly to produce a rabble rousing anthemic battle cry. The crowd participation is surely gonna be awesome, with everyone chanting "as long as we can rock" with deafening precision. The mellow strains of ballad country come to the fore once more, as the album closes with the hymn like balladry of 'Our Hope'. Soulful and brooding with soaring vocals, 'Our Hope' is an emotionally charged finale to a very good album.    
Overall, full of pace, power, and energy - Witchbound deliver an hour of melodic power metal, throwing in a couple of very surprising moments.    
Review By Iron Mathew Collins    
Review is also featured at Metal-Roos