Do you miss early career Metallica? Do you like King Diamond? Are you a fan of concept albums based on the revenge of a burned 17th Century witch? If you are that specific person, oh boy do I have an album for you. To be fair, Norweigian thrashers Critical Solution are much more than a niche band. Their latest release, Barbara The Witch is very much a record of the 80s, all staccato thrash and operatic heavy metal around a horror concept. There are a great number of musical cues the band takes from early era Metallica, and vocalist Christer Slettebo does have a bit of a James Hetfield thing going on at times; however, given all the fury and fun that the band employs, Barbara the Witch is just too much of a good time to care about anything else. It’s clear despite some lesser vocal moments, Critical Solution know exactly what they want to be, and they nail that aesthetic with this impressive record. Like the best concept albums, it’s very easy to get lost in the bombastic nature, and the band deploy vocal hooks, riffs, and blazing solos aplenty. Songs have momentum, which fits the story of a witch burning and coming back to life to inflect revenge.
Critical Solution won’t be for everyone, but for those that love all that 80s thrash and heavy metal have to offer, Barbara the Witch is perfectly suited to help you relive the glory that is heavy metal kitsch.