King Witch is an old acquaintance of mine, I had the pleasure to review their previous album, Under the Mountain, back in 2017. You can find the particular review here. Compared to then the current lineup has changed in one position. Bass player Joe Turner has been replaced with Rory Lee. Other than that the lineup is identical, Jamie Gilchrist as guitarist, Lyle Brown as drummer and then powerhouse Laura Donnelly as vocalist. I thoroughly enjoyed their previous album, so I’m extremely curious to find out whether they have matched or possibly even surpassed themselves with this new release or if they turn out to be a one-day-wonder. Not likely in my opinion, but you never know of course. Their new release is another full-length entitled Body of Light. This one contains nine songs spanning a whopping 59 minutes and 42 seconds. Quantity-wise you’ll get good value, hopefully the same goes for quality.
Opener and title song Body of Light needs a minute to grow to full force, but right at that moment the feast of recognition starts. Laura’s characteristic vocals, the perfectly balanced mix of old school heavy metal and (more) modern elements, it’s all still there and then some. King Witch’s music has definitely matured and the same can be said from Laura’s vocal performance. Both were already very good to begin with, but both still managed to top that by showing definite growth. The only thing that appears to have gone awol compared to their previous release is the doom influence, but, as it turns out, that too will make a distinct appearance later on. Anyway, back to Body of Light. It’s an awesome, full-blown old school heavy metal song that has the power to get you in the right mindset right away. Its flowing rhythm gets you in its grip, and the vocal lines keep you there. Great start!
Succeeding song Of Rock and Stone brings back yet another pleasant memory as the aforementioned doomy influence makes it appearance, proving King Witch indeed hasn’t strayed far from their previously chosen path, if at all. And in all honesty, why would they? They are pretty damn’ good at this, there is really no reason for them to change this winning team. This one alternates doom with heavy metal complete with howling guitar, guiding rhythm section and fitting vocals that I can only describe as deep high pitched. This is the King Witch I know and have come to appreciate. A lot. They still know what they’re doing and, equally important, how to do that.
Describing each song individually will do them no justice to be honest, so I’m not going to. Though most certainly can be consumed separately, I strongly recommend this to be taken in as a whole, as it will only then show its true beauty. That however, is something you’ll have to find out for yourself, I’ll limit myself to some striking highlights instead. There’s the slow, despite the all but depressing vocals, burdening Return to Dust, Solstice I – She Burns with its awesome ending and Witches Mark with its limitless energy, eliciting an ecstatic scream of joy from one of the band members at the end. And rightfully so. That, perhaps, is the best way to describe this release: with an ecstatic scream of joy.
The music of giants like Black Sabbath and Candlemass still may have had a great influence on King Witch’s music, but despite this obvious source they once again managed to add their own twist to the music, making it theirs. Period. No further discussion as far as I’m concerned, and no need to compare them anymore either. They are King Witch, already a force to be reckoned with, a separate entity in the world of metal if you will, and they deserve full credits for what they have created without any reservation. With Body of Light they have released a fabulous album yet again. One that, if it were up to me, will earn them a spot in the elite ranks of metal, for as far as they hadn’t established one yet. They are giants of metal in the making for sure. I’m am convinced it will have great appeal to many, many metal and rock fans. Anyone with a drop of old school blood will thoroughly enjoy this, as will everyone who has any heavy metal blood running through his or her veins. Highly recommended.