July 9, 2013

Music Review: Witchcraft - Witchcraft

I am not sure I adequately explain just what it is about this band that hypnotizes me. There are times when I put their discography on a loop and just let it play for hours. I am not always listening to it attentively, but the rhythm and groove is always there. The band was formed back in 2000 and released this self titled debut in 2004. As soon as you hot play and the titular track begins to play, you will transported away from the mundane, into a melding of past and present powered by fuzzy guitar grooves and soaring vocals.

The band is called Witchcraft and they exist at the crossroads of Black Sabbath and Pentagram, bringing together elements of doom, psychedelic, and stoner groove elements on a fresh retro package. Yes, some of that would seem to e contradictory, but it really isn't. Witchcraft brings old school sound to the present, dropping hints of their influences while still sounding original. This isn't something easily dome as sometimes band's can wear their influences on their sleeves, never escaping tat which has come before. Witchcraft deftly sidesteps the issue managing to sound new and original while still being draped on old school nostalgia.

Witchcraft was recorded in a basement studio using vintage equipment. On top of that, it was recorded on analog tape. Everything about this screams authenticity. It is not perfectly recorded, it is not crystal clear, but it has that certain something that is so often missing. There is a warmth to the recording, the tones feels analog even as I listen to the MP3s it translates to my ears.

There is little to not like about this record, but there are a couple of things that rise up to grab your attention. The first is the guitar work. There are some seriously great riffs to get wrapped up in, they slowly work their way into your brain where they take root and reach outwards towards the inside of your cranium. They swirl, curl, and force their way through the gray matter until they are part of you. Yes, that sounds a little weird, but you will understand when the riffs like those found in "The Snake," "Lady Winter," and "I Want you to Know" hit your eardrums.

Rising above the guitars is the voice of band founder Magnus Pelander. It is a unique voice that stands out for the crowd, clear, ethereal, darkly playful. It is a mixture of angel and demon, a friend with dark items, leading you on a journey through the misty mountain tops.

Witchcraft, hailing for, Sweden, is a relatively recent discovery of mine and one I keep coming back to time and again. It is not metal, exactly, nor is it extreme, but it is intriguing, gorgeous, dark, and alluring. It achieves a high retro factor while retaining their own originality.

Songs to remember: "Her Sisters They Were Weak," "You Bury Your Head," "What I Am," and "The Snake".

Highly Recommended.

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