Portland Oregon’s “heavy metal mongrels” Bewitcher’s are gearing up for their forthcoming third release, Cursed Be Thy Kingdom out April 16th on Century Media.
Recorded by Armand John Anthony (Night Demon) at The Captain’s Quarters in Ventura, California, and mixed by Cameron Webb (Motörhead, Megadeth), the record is a potent mix of speed, metal and rock and roll. If you’re a fan of Motorhead, Tribulation and Hellripper, they’ve got a real live one for you.
In addition, the record features striking cover art courtesy of Paolo Girardi, known for creating album covers for bands such as Power Trip, Bell Witch, Black Breath, Inquisition and many more.
We caught up with frontman M von Bewitcher to talk about the album, his flying V, and why tone is in the hands.
Cursed Be Thy Kingdom is your first record for Century Media – how did you hook up with them? How has the experience been so far?
Their A&R department had been following us around since late 2017 and catching our live shows, chatting us up, etc. So, after some rather lengthy negotiations and deciding that this record was the right time to make the move, we signed on the dotted line.
So far they’ve been very supportive of the band and have done a lot of work on the promotional and marketing end of things.
How did the band deal with the lockdowns in 2020? Did you guys end up spending more time on the record than you might otherwise have?
Definitely. Even though the pandemic shut down all of our pending tours and royally screwed things up for us financially, it did give us the opportunity to focus on the record more before we hit the studio. So in that regard, we were able to make chicken salad out of chicken shit, so to speak.
Were you guys at all slow to put out a record right now that you can’t immediately tour behind?
The timeline ended up not changing too much in the end. We’re hoping that there won’t be too much distance between the release of the album and the next tour, although that has worked in our favor before…
It gives the audience some extra time to absorb the new stuff, so by the time they see us live, they’ll already know it quite well.
So guitars! What did you guys use on the new record in terms of guitars/amps/pedals?
As with the last record, we had access to Armand’s (and by extension, Night Demon’s) full arsenal of guitars and assorted gear, which is always a plus!
I played an array of Flying V’s, Les Pauls, a Tele and a Strat for leads, and a couple of different acoustics for the mellower stuff. The amps were my old faithful 5150, a Marshall Plexi and a JCM 800 that were blended in different configurations.
We messed around with some old ‘90’s pedals for some extra grind here and there, but it wasn’t too crazy. Most of the fx were added in post.
Did you have any reference records going into the studio in terms of how you wanted the finished product to sound?
Yeah. It was really more about capturing vibes though, rather than trying to emulate an overall production sound. We were looking for a natural sound and energy. So records like Highway to Hell, Danzig 3, Death By Fire, and Appetite For Destruction came up a lot in the early conversations.
How was it working with Armand? He’s recorded some of my favorite albums like the self titled Glass And Ashes record and the second Young Livers record. This is your second record with him, what brought you back for more?
We talked to quite a few different people about recording this album, but in the end we felt most comfortable working with Armand again, because we felt like he already knew what we were going for, and the vibe for this record was right up his alley. It just made sense for us to go back for round 2.
Are you a gear head at all? Any pieces of gear you’ve played recently that were a pleasant surprise? Anything you got to play that was disappointing?
My rig hasn’t really changed much in the last several years and has remained very stripped down and simple. So no, nothing that jumps out in my mind immediately. It’s probably about time I start shopping around!
Is there any one piece of gear that you couldn’t do without? Anything that’s integral to your sound?
My black Gibson V has been played on all of our records and it has a pretty distinctive tone. But you’ve gotta be able to pull a tone out of almost anything, especially on the road. So it’s best not to get too attached to one piece of gear or another, in my opinion. There are no “secret weapons” to get my sound other than how I play.
A lot of guitarists are embracing modelling and profiling amps these days, especially due to making fly in gigs much easier. What’s your take on digital amps and effects?
I haven’t messed around with them too much yet, but I know a lot of guitar players who swear by their profiling amps. And honestly, they sound pretty great nowadays and you can’t argue with the portability factor. I’m open to the possibility of using them, but I’m always way behind the times with this stuff haha. I just haven’t gotten around to embracing the new technology quite yet.
If someone maybe wasn’t familiar with you guys but wanted to learn to play one of your songs, where would you suggest they start? Any riffs/licks/passages in particular that are fun to play, or maybe challenging but rewarding for more advanced players?
All of our stuff is pretty easy to play, if you’re an intermediate to advanced player. I try to focus on feel and fun factor over technical complexity, because these songs are meant to be performed and not just played, you know?
Portland has a pretty rad music scene, any new bands up there that people should watch out for?
What’s up next for the band? Any new material in the works? Any post-rona plans?
We will hopefully be back on the road by the end of the year. Until then, we just want people to get acquainted with the new record. At the time I’m typing this, the album hasn’t even come out yet, so I’m not thinking too much about new material at the moment!