The Hungarian black metal band WitcheR (the name is based on the books by Andrzej Sapkowski, but the music itself is not) has released it’s 4th full album called Lélekharang, which translates to Soul Bell in Hungarian. It’s been 3 years when their previous album “A gyertyák csonkig égnek” (The candles are burning low) was released. And I was eagerly awaiting the new album.
The Soul Bell
The album contains 6 tracks with a total runtime of 39 minutes. All the track titles are in Hungarian, but I’ve included the English translations as well.
The tracks are:
- Hamvak – Ashes
- Lélekharang – Soul Bell
- Csendesen – Peacefully
- Hazatérés – Homecoming
- Moonlight Sonata, Op. 27. No. 2. I. Adagio sostenuto (Ludwig van Beethoven cover)
Yearning for times long gone
The Intro of the album is a classical piece which sets a pleasant atmosphere. The piano/keyboard sounds are very soothing, and it set just the right mood for an Atmospheric Black Metal album.
Hamvak or Ashes in English kicks off with some nice guitars and drums (programmed but done very well to my ears at least). But once the keyboards enter, I got an instant flashback to Summoning – Stronghold and for me, that’s a very positive flashback. The vocals of Roland Neubauer makes the package complete.
Lélekharang or the Soul Bell is the longest track on the album with a playtime of 10:16 minutes. It starts off with a gentle piano piece and goes into a what I can only call a Summoning vibe. The entire album gave me a feeling of a journey to another time and an age long gone, and according to Roland Neubauer that’s the idea behind the album and its lyrics.
“The lyrics on the new album could be described as a kind of cry for help for old-time values. We see very well that the world, as it is nowadays, is heading into desolation, annihilation, so it would be important to rediscover our ancestors’ knowledge and tutorials. Therefore, every new lyric is about the importance of our roots and the total opposition of modern world”Roland Neubauer – Heavy Vibrations Interview
The journey has been a pleasant one so far, but there is one thing that I disliked, and that’s the high-pitched pling sound in this track. The sound reminds me of a high-pitched bell, but because the track is called Soul Bell in English, it does make sense why that sound is in the track. Furthermore, the track is a bit on the long side with almost 11 minutes, and it gets a bit repetitive for me at least. But overall, it’s a very nice track and I love the atmosphere and feeling it evokes.
Csendesen or Peacefully is the 4th track of the album, and it’s a bit faster than the first 2 songs (not including the Intro). The drums are pleasant and fast and don’t take the upper hand in the song. The keyboards are a bit more to the foreground, but it suits the track (and the album overall) very well.
Karola Gere is the keyboard player in WitcheR, and she does an impressive job off it. As mentioned before, the album has strong Summoning influences, but also a tad of early Dimmu Borgir can be found (the keyboard interlude on Stormblast comes to mind).
Hazatérés, the 5th track on the album and means Homecoming in English. The song continues with a very nice setup of keyboards and a slow drum and feels a bit like the end of a journey, the longing of a place you belong. May that be a home, a concert, or the top of a mountain covered in snow, whatever it is for the reader, that is what most of us are looking for.
Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven is the last track of the album and for me, a fitting end to a great album.
And after 39 minutes my longing to the times of old are coming to an end, but the feeling the album gave me is a very pleasant one. Some minor complaints aside, I really enjoyed the album. For fans of Summoning or Atmospheric Black Metal, I can only say give this album a spin, you won’t regret it.