Witchery - 14/03/2006

WITCHERY’s spell was cast upon our earthly existence when four members splintered off Satanic Slaughter in 1997: Jensen (later with The Haunted), Richard Corpse, Toxine and Mique. Before recording their debut-album ‘Restless And Dead’, Jensen met Sharlee D'Angelo (Arch Enemy, Mercyful Fate) and got him on board for the unholy alliance. Their debut album was released by Necropolis Records in 1998 and was very well received, so Witchery recorded the ‘Witchburner’ mini-album later during the same year. Apart from two originals, the EP featured four cover songs by Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, WASP and Accept that bore witness to where the individual musicians drew their influences from. Not too long after its release, Witchery did their first US tour in July of 1999. Their second full-length album ‘Dead, Hot And Ready’ was unleashed soon thereafter and was followed by a six week European tour in January and February 2000. After concentrating on duties with their other bands, Witchery got back together to record ‘Symphony For The Devil’ at Berno Studio, Malmö, Sweden in 2001. It was the first recording with their current drummer Martin Axenrot (Bloodbath, Opeth) who joined the band after Mique had left the band. Later during the same year Witchery did a US tour before falling into hibernation for some time. Their new album and debut on Century Media Records, ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’, was again recorded at Berno Studios, but mixed by Tue Madsen at his Antfarm Studios (The Haunted, Heaven Shall Burn). It showcases not only a cover-version of the Satanic Slaughter classic “Immortal Death”, but also Witchery’s feel for catchy and precise metal tunes. Something has come back from the dead…




Your latest album ‘Don't Fear The Reaper’ was released some weeks ago so we’d like to ask you a couple of questions about this album!

Go ahead…


I think this question has been asked a million times already but, why did we have to wait almost 5 years for this new album?

The reason to the delay is mainly that both our labels Necropolis and MFN disappeared in the last few years. We recorded this new album in august 2004, but it took until now to get a contract sorted, work out the release date etc etc. But I can promise you there will be no more waits like that again for Witchery.


How did you launch into writing the material for ‘Don't Fear The Reaper’ after ‘Symphony For The Devil’? Did ideas come easily so that you just had to write them down or was it more of a careful composing thing?

No careful panning for us. We just start whenever we have time available for writing. Everyone in the band can contribute and everyone does so too… But it’s mainly up to me to get an album done. We start rehearsing at 5pm and go on until 2-3am.  I get back there at noon the next day to solve and work out problems we had the previous night and the rest of the guys show up at 5pm again and we try the stuff I’ve just come up with. This goes on for a month, seven days a week and then we have an album. I write the lyrics in the studio once I’ve recorded all my parts, because that’s the only time I have for the lyrics. Up until then, its all about finishing the writing process and finishing recording my parts.


Did you have a certain idea of what you wanted to do on ‘Don't Fear The Reaper’, any elements you wanted to add or have on the album?

I don’t think so. We use whatever we manage to write during our pressed for time-rehearsals.


Who was responsible for writing the songs?

Mainly me. (Jensen)



Were all the songs already completed and composed before you entered the studio, or have there been some changes during the recording sessions?

Not musically, but as I said, all the lyrics get written after I’m done with my recording.


You signed a deal with Century Media, how did you got in contact with them and did you sign for more than one album?

Details about the contract are confidential, but Sharlee and I knew them since before because both our other bands are on there as well.


Did you have a larger budget for this album than for the previous albums and did this change the way you work?

No, because I fronted the money out of my own pocket. The album was recorded 1,5 year before we got the deal with Century Media, but we had to take advantage of the time we had left over for Witchery back then. We couldn’t wait for a new deal to get signed.

How did the recording process proceed and how much time did you spend in the studio? 

We recorded everything live and then added vocals and solos…so, all in all, with mixing, Id say 14 days. I love it that way. I get so bored when being in the studio, waiting for others to do their stuff.


You recorded the album in the Berno Studios. Were the recordings in this studio what you expected and was it a large improvement with your previous studio albums?

This was the 4th album I’ve personally recorded there and the 2nd time for Witchery. So, it was what we expected.


Do you have your favorites on ‘Don't Fear The Reaper’, songs that you think are somehow above the others?

My favorites are “Damned in Hell” and “The Wait For The Pyramids” the latter because I love instrumentals ha-ha.



Could you please describe the implications the title ‘Don't Fear The Reaper’ has for you, what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it?

We usually use a title from a classic metal album, with a twist for our albums… On this album we didn’t change the title, because it had a Witchery connection anyway. The first song on the first Witchery album “Restless and Dead” is called “The Reaper” and that was reason enough for us to use… plus the BÖC song “Don’t Fear the Reaper” is a great song as well.


Can you tell us something about the lyrics on this album?

Witchery lyrics are there for your listening entertainment. I’m not trying to change the world with our lyrics. I had a great time growing up listening to Mercyful Fate and King Diamond for example. I’m a huge book reader too. I love, for example, HP Lovecraft...so I find fantasy lyrics better than political statements or reading how miserable someone feels. Then again…if you don’t like our lyrics, then that’s cool. Just enjoy the music and let the vocals become an additional instrument. If you do, then that’s cool too. I find them fun to write and I think they do the job quite nicely.


Ok, now we have some questions to enable our readers to get to know you a little bit better.


How do you stand against illegal downloading of music from the internet, a lot of albums these days are already on the internet before they are officially released?

It doesn’t harm the metal scene, since metal heads want to own the albums that they like, therefore-for my own personal sake-I see it as a promotion tool. It hurts the pop music industry a lot more. I suppose the gaming industry is taken back by it as well…



How did you get involved in the music business and what songs and bands do you listen to yourself these days?

My parents bought me my first electric guitar when I was 7 years old… I discovered metal with AC/DC’s  ‘For Those About To Rock’ and what I listen to today? Mastodon…all day long ha-ha


Do you already have ideas for the next album or any plans for making a DVD?

We have around 60% of our next written. There will be no long wait again


How do you see the future with this band, when can we expect some live shows?

Very soon I hope and I’d love to do a DVD, but I don’t know when we will have the right budget to portrait the band properly.


Is there still something you want to tell us after these questions?

That metal rules supreme!! Ha-ha Take it easy, thanks for your support throughout the years, and hope to see everyone out there on tour soon! METAL!

Thanks for your time, I’ll be waiting for your answers!

It was my pleasure, trust me J Jensen


More Witchery:

Review: Witchery - Don’t Fear The Reaper



Current line-up:

Toxine - vocals

Richard Corpse - guitars

Jensen - guitars

Sharlee D'Angelo - bass

Martin Axenrot – drums


Witchery albums:
1998 - Restless And Dead

1999 - Witchburner (EP)

1999 - Dead, Hot And Ready

2001 - Symphony For The Devil

2006 - Don’t Fear The Reaper