The Hammer of Witches started life as Gallop Doom (because of the galloping feel of the groove), later to be changed to Burn the Witch before it ultimately got its final name. I purposedly tried to write something uptempo because most of our songs are, let’s be honest, pretty slow and dirge-like and I felt we needed a real energetic number on the album.
However, I definitely didn’t see this as the album opener, more like a track in the middle of the record but after many discussions, mainly between Johnny and me regarding the song sequencing it made sense to put it first.
When I presented the demo to the band Peter immediately said ”that riff sounds like Cry from the Crypt by Candlemass!”. I honestly hadn’t thought about that when writing it but of course he was right. I loved the riff so I wasn’t about to scrap it altogether but I changed a couple of notes and now it only sounds 95% like Cry from the Crypt.
The harmonized solo section after the main solos initially was may more happy-sounding, more like a Michael Schenker thing. Peter voiced his displeasure with it, he didn’t think the happy vibe fit the song so I changed it slightly to make it more sinister-sounding. Usually our songs go through many arrangement changes before we settle on the final version but I seem to remember this one was pretty much left intact, maybe because it’s very straight forward, not too many weird parts.
Everybody in the band really brings their A-game to this song. From Rickys initial drum performance down to the very last vocal overdub this song simply kicks major ass. Its gonna be such a rush to play this song live in front of a bunch of crazy metal heads!