by DoubtGin USER (1 Reviews)
December 31st, 2010 | 9 replies

Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With an excellent blend of stoner, psychedelic, and doom, Witchcraft will surely take you back to the 70s.

When asked about the birth of doom metal (or heavy metal in general), most people will most likely point their fingers at Birmingham-based act Black Sabbath with their scathing blues rock style. So, naturally, dozens of bands nowadays try to imitate their role models, either to simply regurgitate their sound or to actually bring the power and energy of 70s rock back. Swedish hard rockers Witchcraft belong with the latter group, creating an excellent blend of stoner, psychedelic, and doom that will surely take you back to the 70s.

In fact, Witchcraft does not recall Black Sabbath as much as one would expect. Since their self-titled debut in 2004, they lessened the doom influences, instead opting for a more traditional hard rock style with a lot of psychedelic influences. Still, Black Sabbath, alongside doom pioneers Pentagram, are the most obvious influences here. You are clearly reminded of those powerhouses throughout Firewood, their second album just a year after their debut, especially due to working in a basement studio with vintage equipment, perfectly recapturing the sound of the seventies in the way. Opener and first single "Chylde of Fire", with its catchy guitar riffs, upbeat bass, and pounding drums, already creates that nostalgic feeling Witchcraft aims for and once captivated by its charm, Firewood never lets go. Be it the thrilling "Mr. Haze" with its changing song tempos, the most Sabbath-esque slow-burners "Queen of Bees" and "I See a Man" or the more straightforwardly rocking "Attention!", you have no chance but to be amazed at how charming and direfully listenable this album is. They even show homage to their archetypes with the hidden track and Pentagram cover "When the Screams Come" which fits into the album extremely well , but lacks the crushing riffs and the mellow yet heavy sound of the original.

Alongside the supremely done riffs and vivid bass lines spread throughout the whole album, the voice and range of vocalist Magnus Pelander, reminiscent of Pentagram frontman Bobby "Plugie" Liebling, is the main draw here. Highly accented and pretty bizarre at first, his soaring voice slowly takes you over and show its beauty, especially in "Sorrow Evoker's" first half, in which he shines with a brilliant vocal performance, being simply accompanied with an acoustic guitar. To avoid a completely monotonous listen (both Magnus' voice and the riffs can get bland in the whole run), small doses of experimental bits can be found throughout Firewood. The already mentioned song tempo changes during "Mr. Haze", a much-welcomed relief and gives it distinguishable traits, the comparatively upbeat and short "Merlin's Daughter" which divides the record, as well as the flute used midway in "Sorrow Evoker" all help in diversifying Witchcraft's sound.

Unlike many of their contemporaries, they truly recapture the sound of their influences, while adding splendid songwriting, artful playing and a genuine atmosphere. And although creativity is still not something they are brilliant at, sounding like nothing more than a mirror image of Black Sabbath and Pentagram on paper, Witchcraft created an unique sound with Firewood.

Recommended Tracks: If Wishes Were Horses, Mr. Haze, Sorrow Evoker

user ratings (53)

Comments:Add a Comment 
January 1st 2011


Good first review DoubtGin, pos. I loved Witchcraft's self-titled album so I'll probably enjoy this a lot. Unfortunately, this band doesn't get much love on Sputnik, so I doubt this review will get many comments...

January 1st 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

thanks a lot pizza.. if you loved their debut, you'll definitely like this too, even though it's less doom

and yea, it seems like they don't get a lot of attention on here which is a shame

January 1st 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

great, I'd either start with their s/t or this.. "The Alchemist" is great as well, but not as good as either

September 22nd 2011


I just got their debut album and loved it because of it's overall sound 70's style because of recording in the basement with vintage equipment. Does this album sound similar in production style or is it more polished?

October 15th 2012


Album Rating: 4.5

More polished. However, the musicianship is much improved.

January 11th 2013


Album Rating: 4.5

I`m impressed. Witchcraft delivers the music I loved in the seventies. They also manages to do it interesting. I like the review and I like the band!

January 26th 2013


This is a good record. It really draws the line between early Sabbath and late 60's psychedelic rock with solid songwriting.

January 28th 2014



September 16th 2016


Album Rating: 3.5

Great album. Not as good as the first but better than anything they've released since. Wooden Cross is one of their best songs.

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