25 Nov 2011

Witchcraft - Firewood - Obscure Classics

Great albums you may have missed.

Witchcraft - Firewood ( 2005 )

Witchcraft are Sweden's finest export in my opinion. Marketed as a metal band, Witchcraft actually have more of an affinity with the U.K hard rock scene from the early seventies that spawned bands like Free, Warhorse, Stray and Budgie. In fact one half expects to see a vertigo swirl spinning when glancing down at the turntable whilst playing this.  Whereas most modern stoner and doom rock bands place an emphasis on the heavy and sludgy guitars, Witchcraft have a much lighter touch and don't seem to have taken anything on board that's happened musically since the mid seventies. Those looking for something new and groundbreaking should obviously be looking elsewhere, but if you wish Black Sabbath had recorded another album in the same sort of sparse economical fashion as their first album then this is the album for you. The other obvious touchstone is Pentagram - vocalist Magnus Pelander is a deadringer for Pentagram front man Bobby Liebling.
Witchcraft have plenty to offer beyond period authenticity mind. Sorrow Evoker's slow funereal riff is as evocative as anything Tony Iommi has ever come up with and opener Chylde of Fire's choppy riff fest puts more well known retro rockers like Wolfmother to shame.
This is Witchcraft's second of ( so far ) three albums, and while some would have you believe it to be their weakest, I would argue that this is the perfect distillation of their early desire to re-create the glory days of their record collection. Their third album, The Alchemist shows the band willing to progress their sound with some longer tracks bringing a more progressive element to proceedings, and the introduction of the odd unobtrusive keyboard and saxophone.
If anyone can recommend any other modern bands that manage to capture this sound as convincingly as Witchcraft I'd be very keen to hear about them.

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