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
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!
I think this question has been asked a million
times already but, why did we have to wait almost 5 years for this new
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
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
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
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
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
Is there still something you want to tell us after
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
Don’t Fear The Reaper
Toxine - vocals
Richard Corpse - guitars
Jensen - guitars
Sharlee D'Angelo - bass
Martin Axenrot – drums
1998 - Restless And Dead
1999 - Witchburner (EP)
1999 - Dead, Hot And Ready
2001 - Symphony For The Devil
2006 - Don’t Fear The Reaper