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Wtichbreed's Heretic Rapture Different, Yet Still the Same

Heretic Rapture by Witchbreed is a fairly impressive debut disk on one hand and yet somehow unremarkable on another.

The fusion of metal with a female singer to add melody is hardly anything new in the music scene.  Nightwish, Within Temptation, Krypteria, and countless others have adopted this tactic and tried to put their own spin on it to stand out from the crowd.

Even though this is perhaps an overused trend and there is a veritable boatload of mediocre music released in this category, this is a trend I’m all for on the whole.  When done correctly, this fusion of melody and aggression can be simply captivating.  

Witchbreed doesn’t sound terribly original in concept, but in execution they actually manage to stand out from the crowd nicely.

Most bands of this sort go gothic, operatic, or epic, fusing together not only female vocals and metal music, but choirs, orchestra, synth, and more for a powerful sound.

Witchbreed takes a slightly different path.

They fuse a female vocalist who is somewhat more aggressive than the norm with a largely stripped-down, no-frills metal sound for something much more pure, yet much more interesting than what many other similar bands have been able to come up with.

Truth be told, Heretic Rapture’s music would sound fine paired with a typical grunting, growling, screaming, generic male metal vocalist.  But the addition of the powerful, talented female vocalist puts it in a different category and makes the listening experience far more memorable, even if the music behind the vocals isn’t particularly innovative.

There’s nothing wrong with a lack of innovation, mind you, as long as what’s there is performed well.  That is certainly true of Heretic Rapture.

There’s not really a clunker to be found on the whole album.  On the other hand, there’s not really any standout tracks either.

Therein lies the album’s biggest problem.  While it is very well executed and pleasurable to listen to the whole way through, if your experience was like mine then you’ll come out of it not being able to remember many of the individual tracks apart, even if the experience as a whole was enjoyable.

The likely cause of this phenomenon is a lack of variety.  Most of the tracks are cut quite distinctly from the same cloth and offer only variations on the same theme, rather than bothering to change things up and introduce new ideas.

The end result being that if you like their basic sound, you’ll probably like the whole disc, but if you don’t there’s not going to be a single track on here to change your mind. 

Nevertheless, Heretic Rapture is a solid debut album.  The band is clearly capable of producing solid songs and catchy riffs.  The lead singer can hold her own amongst the veritable flood of female metal vocalists out there and not only belt out a solid track, but manage to stand out while doing so.  

There is a clear foundation of talent in Witchbreed and if you like the idea of basic, churning metal paired with powerful female vocals, you would be doing yourself a disservice not to check out their debut.  You’ll probably come away pleased, even if your socks remain firmly in place.  

What’s really exciting about Witchbreed, however, is what could be coming next.  If the band can make good on their strengths and manage to overcome their primary weakness of repetition by sprinkling in a little variety, then their sophomore effort could be outstanding.

Keep an eye on these guys.

In the meantime, give their first disc a few spins.  It’s a perfectly capable, even memorable, album when taken as a whole that, miraculously, manages to put a unique spin on the “female metal vocalist” schtick.  

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Reader Comments (5)

nice review, Thank you.


December 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRuby

Ooooh I stand out tracks?? you don`t think `Firethrone` is a stunning track?

December 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLloydy

Like I said in the review, after listening to it a few times I didn't really come away with any tracks that struck me as markedly better than any others. I had my favorites, but not by a large margin. The upside to this, again, was that I didn't really think there were any clunkers. I'll go back and give Firethrone a listen for you and see if my mind changes, though.

December 15, 2009 | Registered CommenterBrendan T. Smith

I actually bought the album on the strength of the promo version of Medeusa (Angel in pain) which is on Youtube. I really really love this version but for some reason, the track was remixed and over produced and consequently, I think it`s the weakest track on the album - Ironic since this was the one I was mad about. Having played the album lots, Firethrone stands out for me....only my humble opinion 8-) but that aside, it`s a really good metal album. I`ve heard the band called `Gothic` by one or two reviewers but I`m not sure about that one. I think a band comes along every now and then who are different and I believe these guys are one of those bands.

December 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLloydy

I won't argue at all that the album is a good metal album. I think that much is clear from my review. I don't think it's perfect either, but I like it a great deal.

I think perhaps it's labelled as gothic as some sort of instinctual reaction to the female vocalist. Like I said in my review, most metal bands that have a woman singing tend to be "goth" or "symphonic metal" or some variant like that. I think Witchbreed is pretty traditional metal, really, not goth (though it does certainly have hints of gothic elements), but I can understand why it might be mislabeled.

Anyhoo, I do like it a lot and I'm anxious to see where they go from here. Lots of potential.

Oh, and I do indeed think Firethrone is a pretty epic track. Perhaps I should have mentioned it individually because, while I still don't think it's radically different from everything else on the album, it does at least have a bit of a different pace to it.

I can't comment on the difference between versions, but I did quite like the version of Medusa on the album.

December 17, 2009 | Registered CommenterBrendan T. Smith

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