Review Summary: 70s Pentagram reincarnated in the 2000s
For those of you familiar with the vintage collection of Pentagram material released over the past decade, you should really give this band a listen. In the year 2000, Witchcraft was originally a collaboration formed by Magnus Pelander as a tribute to Bobby Leibling of Pentagram and Rory Erickson of 13th Floor Elevators. However, after recording a demo with the song "No Angel or Demon," the band was signed to Lee Dorian's label, Rise Above Records, and produced this self titled debut
The album starts off with "Witchcraft," which will completely bring you back to the 1970s with the style of production. They recorded this whole album on vintage equipment and on analog. Now, how many bands would actually do this these days? Not many, but that is what gives this album that old school feeling. This album is drenched in Black Sabbath/Pentagram style riffing and drumming, but don't let that deter you away from this album because they do a magnificent job of creating their own personality within the songs that they write. For example, "The Snake" and "Lady Winter," while they may have reminiscent riffs, it is Magnus Pelander's singing style that gives their music it's own distinction. His vocals provide an eerie, soft spoken kind of demeanor that reflect around the lyrics of, witchcraft (why of course), women, and evil. As you listen to this you feel like you should be surrounded in a dark room with candles lit, around the pentagram, and chanting the last rites of the naked virgin lying in front of you.
There is no question why Lee Dorian wouldn't have signed this band after listening to "No Angel or Demon," the chorus is haunting and vocal harmonies are beautiful at the same time. And the guitar solo break brings the rock with a similar chord progression as "All Along the Watchtower" with a funky edge. This brings me to the highlight track on this album, "You Bury Your Head," Bring your joint and your fist because this song flows like a stoner jam that Sabbath and Pentagram could have definitely created in the early 70s. The groove is slow, the guitars are doom-like, and the music puts you in a trance as it progresses so gracefully. Witchcraft ends this album with an epic tale called "Her Sisters They Were Weak." Now, this song has a hint of Jethro Tull, as they provide some flute in the mix. Not many rock bands introduce a flute in their music unless it is deemed necessary, and it is most certainly necessary. Around the three minute mark, the song turns into a new direction with heavy Sabbath-like riff leading you into a bad acid trip that you can't escape, but at the same time, you don't want to leave. As the album draws to a close a scary music box melody plays as the music slowly fades out.
For fans of Black Sabbath, Pentagram, and even Jethro Tull, you should really give this album a listen. Witchcraft should have been a 70s band, but it is awesome that a band of this day in age create music with such a vintage feel. Some bands have tried, but I don't think any band can do it as well as Witchcraft. Hell, not even Black Sabbath or Pentagram could make an album sound like this these days. Smoke some weed (if you smoke), crack open a beer (if you drink), and put this album on. Close your eyes, and you won't believe that Witchcraft came out in 2004. Highly recommended.
Standout tracks: "Witchcraft," "The Snake," "Lady Winter," "No Angels or Demons," "You Bury Your Head," and "Her Sisters They Were Weak."