Witchbreed - Heretic Rapture

At first glance, it would be easy to dismiss Witchbreed for another generic act dwelling through the tepid and often uninspired fields of female-fronted-gothic-metal. They’ve the fitting image, which is dark and obscure, have an esoteric moniker, their cover artwork boasts a semi-naked and attractive woman, are fronted by the gorgeous Ruby Roque, and belong to a record label created with the purpose of further exploring that style of music. Yet, upon hearing their debut full-length work ‘Heretic Rapture’ it’s perceptibly that the Portuguese five-piece don’t seem particularly interested in following that trendy path. Witchbreed don’t want to be the next Nightwish or the next Lacuna Coil, in fact their songs reveal more things in common with someone like Doro, Nevermore or Communic than the aforementioned acts.
Overall, the impression is of a band structuring their songs around a traditional-metal framework with a melodic power-thrash gallop and a dark edge, sometimes nodding towards a slightly less technical Nevermore. Songs like ‘Symphony for the Fallen’, ‘Thy Eclipse’ and ‘Rebel Blood’ strongly point in that direction, with beefy thrash-driven riffs, a pronounced bass work and Ruby’s powerful and deep voice. The vocalist, in fact, shines brightly throughout the whole album with a strong and sweet performance, free of over the top theatrics and operatic wailing. Sometimes she reminds me of a darker Doro Pesch.
It should be mentioned that the record was produced by Waldemar Sorychta who is renowned for working with such bands as Tiamat, Moonspell and Lacuna Coil and his experience as producer clearly puts this record one step higher of similar releases.
‘Heretic Rapture’ is not perfect though, there’s still room for improvement in the song writing, especially when Witchbreed delve into power-ballads which sound blatantly bland and pedestrian.
Anyway, if the prospect of a Doro Pesch fronting a band like Communic or Nevermore sounds extremely appealing to you then grab a copy of ‘Heretic Rapture’ straight away.

Band info: www.myspace.com/witchbreed
Label info: www.ascendancerecords.com