If the first three releases are any indication of what's in store for the rest of year, then 2011 promises to be one hell of a year for the Russian label RAIG. One of these releases is Wicca - Spells, Magic and Witchcraft Through The Ages, the second album from Peruvian band El Hijo De La Aurora (Son of The Dawn). The band which formed in 2008, consists of Joaquin Cuadra (drums, Fx), Manolo Garfias (guitars, bass) and lead vocalist Rafael Cantoni. With one local indie album already under their belt, the band has wisely turned to RAIG to help them ensure their unique brand of doom / stoner metal gets out to the masses.
Lured by the esoteric ruminations of Nietzsche, Aleister Crowley, HP Lovecraft and Anton LaVey, old horror movies, along with the purported musical influence of Black Sabbath and The Beatles to help guide them along on their way, Wicca - Spells, Magic and Witchcraft Through The Ages, offers the listener an atypical release from the often rigid restrictions of the genre. The band does a great job exploring lengthy and menacing passages of relatively straight ahead dirge riddled doom, as they do so effortlessly on the fourteen minute "Psicodrama", which is peppered with some very trippy synth work and manic screaming that comes across like the song "Black Sabbath" gone terribly awry. "Mas alla de Toda Pena" plods along like a supped up version of "I Want You (She's So Heavy)", draped in Hammond organ swells and bluesy guitar solos, while "Akasha" with more splendid Hammond and guitar tradeoffs, reveals a bit of a Uriah Heep influence. All the vocals are delivered in Spanish, but you don't need to be familiar with the language, because it's their diverse, musical vocabulary that guarantees a connection will be made with people who love this kind of music.
Perhaps geography has something to do with it, because there are definitely flavors within the music and the way it's presented , that seem pleasantly foreign to me and yet that is the real appeal of this disc in a nutshell. Wicca isn't always easy to pin down or draw obvious reference points from, so in effect it ends up coming across as something you haven't heard before. The magnificent looking artwork and graphics are also worthy of mention. Wicca is hands down one of the most refreshing albums that I've ever come across in this genre of music.
1) El Ojo Hipnotico (Intro)
2) Der Golem
4) Libro de las Sombras
5) El Espejo de la Bruja
6) Mas alla de Toda Pena
9) Cuentos del Bosque Encantando Part II