By Ferdy Belland
CALGARY – Although the members of Bewitcher have rad in-house titles like (ahem): “Unholy Weaver of Shadows and Incantations,” for brevity’s sake we’ll refer to our main interview subject here as “Andy.”
Andy and company formed Bewitcher in Portland in 2013. Their classic-metal mission statement is forged from early-80s speed-metal (Celtic Frost, Bathory, Hellhammer, Venom), the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (Diamond Head, Angelwitch), and classic metal (Judas Priest, Rainbow, Dio), along with Satan and booze. As expected, their thundering self-titled debut album from 2016 is a metallic treat, but Bewitcher aren’t resting on their studded laurels. Their current project is recording album number two in Ventura, California with guitarist Armand John Anthony and vocalist/bassist Jarvis Leatherby of Night Demon, to be released in 2019.
This proves to be a big year for Bewitcher.
“We’re at the Frost and Fire after-party in Ventura in October, and playing a 10-day stint around it,” says Andy.
“Works out great – we’re closing out the Saturday night program with (Vancouver speed metal band) RoadRash!”
RoadRash is doing plenty of touring with Bewitcher in 2018, and will be appearing on all their Alberta dates with copies of their 2017 album Thunder in Paradise on cassette, courtesy of emerging label Nightstrike records. The Calgary based label is responsible for cassette releases by RoadRash, King Hummungus, Radyator and more.
“Should be pretty rowdy!” Continues Andy, “Then we’ll head back up to Portland. Later on we’ll hit out east as far as Ohio, as well as Toronto!”
Andy unveils Bewitcher’s master plan.
“We want to tour full-time. We have irons in fire in terms of Europe, which will coincide with our two U.S.A. tours in 2019, which will take us back to Canada as well. Busier and busier! We’ve been at it for a while now. I’ve been singing for nearly 20 years, and at this point we just want to stay out there and push it as far as we can. Bewitcher’s the band all of us have always wanted to be in. It’s so exciting! Not only is it a band we’re all very passionate about, but we’re resonating strongly with people – that’s twice as exciting!”
Andy speaks warmly about the true siblinghood and friendships enjoyed by the bands within the new wave of traditional heavy metal sweeping across the Northern part of our continent; he says there is no competition, rivalry, or arm’s-length distance.
“There’s a shitload of up-and-coming exciting bands across the U.S. and Canada who are rooted in that classic sound and just GET IT. We’re all connected and helping each other.”
“It’s a thriving circuit of different bands all across North America who are part of the same scene, and supporting everybody else! For real. For us to break out of the Pacific Northwest and connect with other wide-scattered bands [that] are on our level and interested in the same music – everyone’s got their corner of the country. None of us sound alike, but there’s this very real camaraderie and fellowship. It’s thrilling to be a part of that. From day one, Bewitcher connected with bands across the world, and to take an online friendship into taking the stage with them? A tangible connection where we have beers and party with them and revel in this thing called HEAVY METAL? Too much!”
Andy closes with a direct quip.
“Our mission every time is to continue stepping it up and BRING THE SHOW. We grew up in the classic heavy metal where you don’t shlump onstage in your work clothes and just bust out some tunes. For us, it’s a true experience, and we aim to build on it. So for those who saw us before and are coming again – you’ll be entertained. Definitely.”
Bewitcher perform with Vancouver’s RoadRash at 333 on August 2 (Vancouver), Vern’s on August 5 (Calgary), Vangelis Tavern on August 7 (Saskatoon), and the Windsor Hotel on August 9 (Winnipeg)33, Bewitcher, Portland, RoadRash, RoadRash at 333, Vangelis Tavern, Vern's, Windsor Hotel