Finnish gothic rock pioneers Two Witches put an end to a prolonged studio abstinence with their new full-length album, titled "Goodevil", which is sure to fulfil the expectations of both worshippers and first-time listeners as plenty of refreshing - yet non-intrusive - elements converge here with those that have essentially distinguised this band throughout its almost three decades long career. So the leviathan from Tampere has sloughed its old skin and now re-emerges full of energy to rock and shock the gothic realms again. More versatile and purposeful than ever, Jyrki Witch's vocals embody the power of the lyrics in an inimitable way, adapting his timbre to the demands of the drama-play. Furthermore, he is accompanied by sometimes stormy, and sometimes wide-screen sound designs that place Two Witches in its wholly-owned musical spectre.
Probably, the most novel feature - apart from the modernized sonic forms, of course - comparing this record with the previous ones seems to be its thematic approach. The band's traditionally dark tale imagery has been watered down in denounces of the current society's diseases and, thereby, a sort of apocalyptical picture is provided. Thus, the opener "Future World" cinematicly activates some bleak undertones that will somehow remain littered throughout each of the twelve tracks. There's a wintry, soundtrackish conjuction of synths, distorted solos and noises that sticks in mind... "... / Pain, fear, dirt, filth / Open the Door / Welcome to my world". Anyway, what comes next is groovy rock in all its sinister glory. Melody strengthens as it's merged into a rush of guitars, drums and bass and, together with the hook-laden singing partially make up the initial anxiety-inducing. "Inner Circle Outsider" fires in rumbling riffs and drums, with Jyrki weaving his harsh criticism ( "... / I've never been your whore / and even if I'm inside / My inside is outside / ..." ) into the moody, neurological throb of bass, while fleeting cold guitars remind us the wasteland-like backdrop again. Resinous punkish choruses march us into revolution with "Monuments are collapsing" ( "... / Action - re-action / Resistance / ..." ). Its relentless pace, assertive rocker plucking and glammy keyboard swirls, inevitably trigger dance on the way to the street battle. "Zombie Walk" follows the bombastic path with fidgety distortions on the propelling, shameless hand-claps as partners in rhythm and creepy electronics living up to the song's title. It's such an accurate and funny metaphor of today's widespread brainwashing. Next "Electric Shock" bursts into scene with caustic roars of guitar and weirdly processed vocals. It sounds as addictive as the "blue devil" referred to in the lyrics - once more, nice simile drawing. It's excitingly morbid rocker. Strings wiggle wild and 'dusty' throughout "The Sinner", evoking Nephilim's eerie soundscapes, but when the structure expands some haunting sweeps of synth and Jyrki's throaty moans throw the song to nordic winds. Also remarkable to that regard is "Spirit Sacriface", which unleashes its old school power through every harmony and riff. In contrast, songs like "Sinister Face" or "The New Black" duly update gothic rock to the 21st Century. However, Two Witches were first pressed to our consciousness by their other-worldly symphonic allure and that's precisely what awaits us in the beautiful closer "Dream within a Dream" - which was already predicted through the brief cello-driven interlude "Mr Goo Devil (my doppelgänger)": "... / I had a dream / But I didn't sleep / A dream within a dream /...". In fact both tracks, along with the album's overture, are fundamental keys to understand the underlying plot. Bells, classical instrumentation, execution drums, strange vocal interventions... all in this macabre reverie augure a dramatic - or it would be better to say 'liberating' - outcome: "... / I don't wanna die / I don't wanna die / Ready - Aim - Fire".
On the whole, here is another brilliant output of Two Witches that is certainly both great introduction to new listeners and nice reminder to veteran fans. Undeniably gothic and modern, "Goodevil" brings back the band's old virtues through incisive, guitar-led dramas within which a haunting beauty is waiting to be exorcised.
Review by Billyphobia