Precision songcraft isn’t necessarily the highest priority in heavy metal. A good headbanging riff, a neat solo and a half-catchy chorus will get a band a long way if they’re performed with skill, conviction, energy, passion and atmosphere. Lancastrian trad metallers Wytch Hazel have bucketloads of these, but the 10 songs on this third LP – running the gamut from insistent floor-fillers, windswept epics and spine- tingling stomps to mystical ballads, jubilant gallopers and wistful singalongs – are uncommonly beautifully wrought. Each song is piled high with quadruple-tracked guitar melodies, honed into optimum shape and given richness and weight with a clean, classy, Martin Birch-style production job. Even dressed like wood-dwelling medieval Samaritans and singing lyrics exclusively on devotional Christian themes, Wytch Hazel’s knack for an infectious, emotionally charged tune makes them one of the coolest bands around.
(Image: © Bad Omen)