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The Beauty and The Beast

Review by Gary Hill

The second disc from German band Stormwitch that I'm reviewing in this issue, this, like that other one, is a remastered edition. It also includes a number of live bonus tracks. I think this disc might be the stronger one of the two. It has a tendency toward being generic, but there are a few points where this really stands tall.

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Track by Track Review
Call Of The Wicked
They waste no time, powering straight into a power-metal stomper. This has some solid riffs and catchy hooks. The guitar solo section is fierce and rather technical. It's also on fire.
The Beauty And The Beast
The title track feels a bit generic. Still, the female vocals added to the mix are a nice touch, and the guitar solo is on fire.
Just For One Night
Drums start things here. The band launch out from there with some scorching hot rocking sounds. This is meaner and meatier than the two songs that preceded it. I like it better than either of those. It has a dropped back section that eventually makes its way back to the song proper.
Emerald Eye
This gets into some screaming hot territory on the neo-classical instrumental section. Beyond that the number is a little generic, but still manages to rock out pretty well.
Tears By The Firelight
I love the intricate acoustic guitar on this number. This is a balladic cut with a lot of old-time music built into it. It's also a highlight of the set. This is another that has female vocals. It also gets some keyboards later along the road.
Tigers Of The Sea
This is an intriguing metal stomper. It has an anthemic chorus and really rocks like crazy.
Russia's On Fire
I love the mean guitar sound that starts this. The guitar soloing that comes over the top after the first line of vocals is classy, too. This works to more of a stripped back droning grind for the verse. That doesn't work as well, but it is still effective. It gets into some more interesting zones further down the road. There is a mellower section with a female spoken voice as an intriguing aside. I also particularly like the non-lyrical group vocal that comes here and there.
Cheyenne (Where The Eagle Retreat)
This is one of the highlights of the set. It's meaty, fiery hot and so classy. It has some really different sounds and textures to it.
Welcome To Bedlam
This is literally a screamer. It's sort of the finest example of the NWOBHM sound here. It's another highlight of the disc . There is some meaty guitar soloing, too. It's great that that was the closer of the original album because it is possibly the strongest tune of the whole set.
Bonus Tracks:
Live 1990
Emerald Eye

The recording on this leaves a little to be desired, but overall isn't too bad. I think this song seems to work better in live performance than it does on the studio recording.

Call Of The Wicked
This doesn't work as well in the live rendition, but it's still effective.
The Beauty And The Beast
I think that this track loses some of its subtler charms live, but gains some raw power in the process.
Tears By The Firelight
This balladic piece loses a little by having some of the studio nuance removed. That said, the more powered up section later is meaner here, and overall this is effective in the live arena.
Russia's On Fire
This live version works pretty well, but I prefer the studio take.
Thunder And Lightning
Now, this is on fire. It suffers a little from the recording quality, but the ferocious performance more than makes up for it.
This is another that really shines in its metal ferocity here.
Away From The Darkness
I really like the guitar soloing on this a lot. It's literally a screamer.
Tigers Of The Sea
This cut includes a stage banter section in German that gets us a sing-along of the English chorus. Beyond that it's another straightforward metal stomper.

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