Witnere – Albion Aflame

Witnere – Albion Aflame
Release date: 11/02/2023
Running time: 39:00
Review by: Alun Jones

Witnere (their name is Olde English for tomentor: so far, so cool) are a British metal band comprised of Jason Taylor on drums and Declan Doyle on the guitar and bass. Vocals are shared, and also aided with the assistance of their comrade Scott. This is their second album, produced and released by the band themselves.

“Albion Aflame” is rooted in a solid, defined concept: Britain in the Dark Ages, and the myth – or history, maybe – concerning King Arthur. Immediately, this foundation elevates Witnere to a higher standing, with plenty to explore. First track ‘410 AD’ is a folky number that captures the theme brilliantly, dropping the listener right into the frame.  

From there, it’s an album of magic, prophecy and bloody battles amidst a collection of powerful songs.  ‘Merlin’s Warning’ gallops off in an Iron Maiden style, relentless drums and guitars roaring.  Great melodic instrumental section, fiery lead – all top quality, with a riff you can hum (this is v important).  ‘Furor Saxonicus’ is a fast paced, face ripper – and again also very catchy. You can headbang and chant along, waving your air sword at imaginary enemies.

‘King of the Britons’ features another agile, speedy riff that is reminiscent of the melodic approach of Thin Lizzy.  The rest of the songs follow in this style – without losing their appeal – until we reach the epic ‘Avalon’.  Our story is almost over: acoustic guitar gives way to a more sombre – though still awesome – finale that builds on quieter verses and rousing choruses.

There’s a lot to take in lyric wise (a lyric sheet would be great), but the vocals across the album – whoever they’re delivered by – are varied and confident.  

The production on this recording is extremely impressive: it’s crisp and clear, without sounding “nice”.  ‘Albion Aflame’ benefits from excellent musicianship and performances, too. What’s most impressive, though, is the level of storytelling detail that Witnere are able to create. There’s a lot of care and passion gone into every element of this album, from the research to the execution. ‘Albion Aflame’ surprised me with its professionalism and depth. You don’t have to use sorcery to track this album down, but I suggest you waste no time in doing so.        

01. 410 AD
02. Merlin’s Warning
03. Furor Saxonicus
04. King of the Britons
05. Hold Tight Your Sword
06. Badon Hill
07. Merlin’s Madness
08. Avalon

Jason Tyler – Vocals, Drums
Declan Doyle – Vocals, Guitars, Bass


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