When I listened to this CD for the first time I thought I was dealing with a new band, an unknown name in the world of heavy metal. Musically, my mind also filed them in the same category. Or, rather, in the category "New bands...that won't be heard of again".

Then I read the bio. Hm. Been around since 1984. Cult band. White Skull and Hammerfall even recorded covers of Stormwitch originals. Hm. Released four albums in the mid eighties. Hm.

Something doesn't add up.

Why does the first track, "Intro/The Man of Miracles", have a very bad production (loud snare, loud bass drum, guitars, and you don't really hear anything else)? Why does the singer sing with a German accent (in particular in the folk-like "The Devil's Bride", with very weak vocals in general?). Why does "My World" sound like a slightly modified rip-off of Black Sabbath's "Heaven and Hell"? Why does "The Altar of Love" contain guitar pieces that seem straight out of Joe Satriani's book ("War")? Why does "Nothing More" sound uncannily like "Stairway to Heaven Pt. 2"? Why does "The King of Terrors" have lyrics that are not simply cliché but in fact quite stupid? Why is the singer faltering and weak throughout the entire album?

"Dancing with the Witches" is an album that sounds too familiar for its own good. Even the fact that it contains a singalong metal anthem in the shape of the title track, and a nice (though familiar sounding) "Jeanne d'Arc" with an eeriely fragile female vocalist, can't save it from my personal " so new bands...that won't be heard of again" category.



Written August 2002


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