WITCHCRAFT (Firewood) LP/CD
A few years ago, when my good friend Opolus gave me the debut 7" from WITCHCRAFT as a gift, I immediately start to like their vintage cross of 70's Pentagram and early 80's Roky Erickson. A positive review was one of the results, even though I wished that the band would step out more of the shadows of their influences. But it was also very nice, that ex-Norrsken mastermind Magnus Pelander had returned to the heavy 70's music scene, and the self-titled debut album received a lot of good reviews in the press. A successful European tour in 2004, together with Rise Above labelmates Grand Magus and Orange Goblin, established WITCHCRAFT's name among the fans of heavy doom-laden 70's rock. One year passed by and here's the second album, entitled "Firewood" and again released through Rise Above Records. Still, WITCHCRAFT are at home in the very early 70's and have stopped listening to music in 1975 as well as not buying clothes after this year... That was only one of the first impressions I had, but I noticed also that the band had developed into a more varied musical direction. Well, I want to say that not only Pentagram and Roky Erickson are the rulers of their musical vision, but also other musical trends from the '70's.
The band integrated more folk, prog, blues and jazz elements, without losing their organic heaviness and mystical aura. Magnus Pelander is stealing the show with his pregnant vocals, still in the best Bobby Liebling-vein and John Hoyles' emotionally charged, heavy guitar style is in full effect on 70's Pentagram, Free and Master's Apprentices during their "Choice Cuts"/"Nickolodeon"-period. I could go on with more bands from the 70's, but I guess I made my point clear and so it's obvious that WITCHCRAFT don't cover new ground, but they play their doom-tinged 70's rock with so much passion and intensity, what makes it hard to resist. The album includes some great anthems as the heavy groovin' "If Wishes Were Horses", "Wooden Cross (I can't wake the Dead)" with its creepy vibe or the liquid instrumental "Merlin's Daughter" just to pick out three of ten cuts, plus an additional cover-version of........ yes, once again it's Pentagram! This time it's "When the Screams come", a more familiar song from the outstanding US-group, and it's no surprise that the cover is exactly sounding as the original! But the own compositions are showing that WITCHCRAFT don't try to limitate their sound with one formula and the addition of other 70's influences are making "Firewood" to a very enjoyable and atmospheric album. And if someone says: "Why should I buy an album that sounds like all the heavy 70's album I have at home in collection?"......the answer is very simple: "A good record is a good record, no matter if it has been recorded in 1970 or 2005!" This is all quality stuff!