Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Label: Filosofem Records

Date: May 8th, 2024

Heavy metal, globally speaking, has more incommon with classical music than some might think. But, that special connection has always existed. We can not deny that classical music has a great influence on heavy metal. Theoretically, of course, heavy metal and classical music fit together (virtuosity, grandiose thematic, dramatic elements, emotional intensity…). But in practice… After I heard so many projects that tried, successfully or unsuccessfully to connect those two musical genres, I can freely say that not every trained opera singer can sing in metal band, as well as for example classically trained violinist or cellist can play in metal band. Numerous researches showed that metalheads like to listen to Paganini, Vivaldi, Wagner or Bach, and as an answer to the simple question why or how we could debate about virtuosity, thematic or harmonic structure for example. But, leave the music education to those whose profession it is and focus on what we do here: album reviews.

Hungarian atmospheric black metal band Witcher, formed back in 2010 , released EP “Boszork​á​nyszimf​ó​ni​á​k” (Witch Symphonies) on May 8th. Following the full length “Lélekharang” released in 2002, this mystical duo delivers something that we could simply call: classic meets black metal.  The band’s name takes roots from the fictional novel The Wither, written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. Witcher is a creation of Karola Gere and Roland Neubauer, two extremely talented and among everything else creative musicians. 

Witcher has a tradition of implementing classical music into their atmospheric black metal journey. For example, A hattyúk tava, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky cover, was released on “A gyertyák csonkig égnek” (2019, Filosofem Records); Moonlight Sonata Op. 27. No. 2. I. Adagio sostenuto –  Beethoven was released on “Lélekharang” (2022, Beverina Productions) and now, it is time for the complete EP of classical musical pieces.

The EP consists of Witcher’s vision of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Georg Friedrich Händel, Edvard Grieg, Frédéric Chopin, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Carl Orff compositions. The band is here focused on the Romantic period and looking from that perspective, the only intruder is Georg Friedrich Händel, who was a Baroque composer. While probably the most listeners have heard of all the already mentioned composers, Ralph Vaughan Williams might not be explored in this field of music (metal). His works include operas, ballets, chamber music, secular and religious vocal pieces and orchestral compositions including nine symphonies. He is recognized as one of the great symphonists of the 20th century. 

Let’s say a bonus song, Summernight Melancholy, was released in 2021 on EP Summernight Melancholy (Filosofem Records).

Listening to this EP, I had a thought: “Can this be any faster?”, but if you think better, my wishes are absolutely not important, my temperament also, and if we go back to the beginning and remember that Witcher is atmospheric black metal, then the mission is complete. If you consider the fact that all important elements of atmospheric black metal are included: ambience, melodic embrace and emotional depth; then there is no space to criticise anything or play make a wish game.

This EP will  transport you as a listener to otherworldly realms. This EP will embrace  you as a listener, with a  melody, and take you to the depth and emotion of the music. This EP will  evoke powerful emotions, ranging from melancholy to transcendence to you as a listener.

When classical music and heavy metal (in this case atmospheric black metal collide) you know something big will come out. “Boszork​á​nyszimf​ó​ni​á​k” is a classical proof that this combination when you have talent and above everything love and passion can be very successful. 

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