A full six years after their latest studio album release, Linköping / Sweden based blackened Metallers WITCHERY finally return with their long-awaited 6th studio album, programmatically entitled “In His Infernal Majesty’s Service”.
Celebrating the 20th year of the group’s existence, “In His Infernal Majesty’s Service” showcases an illustrious and revamped line-up consisting of original members Jensen (Guit., The Haunted), Rikard Rimfält (Guit., Seance) and Sharlee D’Angelo (Bass, Arch Enemy), alongside new additions to this nocturnal guild Angus Norder (Vox, Nekrokraft) and Chris Barkensjö (Drums, LIK). Self-evidently, WITCHERY stays the stylistic course and continues their infamous tradition of combining the best elements of old school Thrash, Speed, Death, Black and ultimately pure Heavy Metal with dead-on songwriting precision for maximum listening pleasures.
WITCHERY were founded in 1996 when drummer Mique, bass player Rikard Rimfält and guitarists Toxine and Jensen were asked to leave Satanic Slaughter by founding member Ztephan Dark over musical differences. These four musicians decided to carry on with the style of music they had started as members of Satanic Slaughter and took the name WITCHERY. Toxine switched to vocals and Rikard Rimfält moved to guitar duties. A new bass player was found in Sharlee D'Angelo. Two years later they released “Restless And Dead”, the title hinting at metal icons Accept and their classic “Restless And Wild” album. The second release was the EP “Witchburner” (1999), once more paying homage to their idols: They covered songs by WASP, Judas Priest, Accept, Black Sabbath and added three tracks of their own. The same year WITCHERY launched “Dead, Hot And Ready“, and toured with Emperor and Borknagar in North America as well with Kreator and Moonspell throughout Europe early the following year. Drummer Mique left the band prior to the recording of “Symphony For The Devil” (2001) and was replaced by Martin Axenrot. “Don´t Fear The Reaper” (2006) was the band's debut on Century Media Records, once more combining their trademarked precision, force and melody. 2010 saw the launch of their ”Witchkrieg” album, which featured new vocalist Legion (ex-Marduk/Devian) replacing longtime frontman Toxine…and even a guest lead-guitar appearance by Slayer’s Kerry King was to be found on the album!
In support of the latest release, WITCHERY played a score of festivals and did a tour of Japan together with Vader and Watain, but unfortunately the band’s line-up rotation continued. While former Dark Funeral vocalist Emperor Magus Caligula assumed live-session duties for a while, it was only recently that Jensen managed to gather the right new line-up for the recordings of “In His Infernal Majesty’s Service”, as he explains in the following words:
“We've sadly had to part ways with two members prior to this album; long time band member Martin Axenrot and live member (and recording member-to-be) Emperor Magus Caligula. Martin's departure is purely down to him being too busy with his other musical endeavors and Caligula had to leave the band over an unfortunate medical condition involving his hearing. These are both serious losses for the band and we wish them all the best in the future. We have however been able to find more than able replacements for our two lost brethren: Chris Barkensjö on the drums and Angus Norder on vocals. They both bring fresh blood and fresh ideas to the band and you can clearly hear that they both have made it necessary for us "old members" to step up our game a notch or two!”
And commenting about the musical approach and the recording procedure goals with the new album, which was produced and mixed by Daniel Bergstrand at Dug Out Studio (Behemoth, In Flames, Meshuggah), Jensen added:
“Musically, I wanted to make this album more raw than the previous ones. Perhaps as raw as the first album even. I really didn't want to over-work things, as I myself enjoy music that comes more from feeling and enthusiasm than music that has been contemplated and construed. This album is recorded by Daniel Bergstrand at his Dug Out Studio in Uppsala, Sweden. Even though Daniel has been a high profile name for ages within the Metal community, I've never had the opportunity to work with him before. I have to say that Daniel is really easy to work with. All around a great guy and he immediately understood what I was looking for production-wise when I spoke to him about the album. My main request was that I wanted a raw and unpolished production. I really dislike productions where you can hear that the band has had ages to complete just one song. Where there might be a month's worth of coffee breaks between the guitar takes etc. I wanted it to sound like a real band that is playing together. My second request was that I wanted the drums to sound like on Van Halen's "1984" album. I seriously love that aggressive middy drum sound. I think Daniel did an amazing job and I know that he rates this production very highly on his own personal list of albums he's worked on…”
“In His Infernal Majesty’s Service” contains 11 brand-new bewitching tracks, featuring brief guest appearances by Hank Shermann (Mercyful Fate), Jason Netherton (Misery Index) and Nicholas Barker (Lock Up). The album comes packaged in classy and atmospheric artwork by longtime partner in visuals Andreas Diaz Pettersson and the release is obviously made available on vinyl as well as digital download, while its initial CD pressing comes as Digipak with 2 bonus tracks (“Eye For An Eye” and “Cloak And Dagger”, rare cuts from the “Witchkrieg” sessions). Look out for further WITCHERY activity throughout the next year to celebrate 20 years of restless Metal “In His Infernal Majesty’s Service”…