Swedish doomsters Witchcraft debuted back in 2004 with this self-titled release for Rise Above Records, and the label is now reissuing their back catalog for all those who missed them the first time around. Originally formed as a one-off tribute to Pentagram, the musicians decided that they were really clicking and kept at it, still going strong here in 2012. Magnus Pelander leads the charge with his Ozzy Osbourne-meets-Bobby Liebling styled vocals and doomy riffs, and the band really does a great job channeling Pentagram's early bluesy, doomy sound. In fact, much of this album sounds like it could have been recorded in the mid-'70s.
Opening 1-2 punch of "Witchcraft" and "The Snake" really go for that dark and ominous Pentagram vibe, and feature some nifty doom riffs and haunting melodies. The Liebling original "Please Don't Forget Me" is covered here, and they do a nice job on this bluesy, almost pop styled number. The doom returns on the crushing "Lady Winter", with huge riffs straight out of the Tony Iommi playbook, and "What I Am" has a heavy psychedelic edge to it thanks to some chilling atmosphere and weaving guitar lines. "Schyssta lögner" is another heavy piece featuring Pelander's juicy riffage and blues rock solos, which just screams the 1970's, and if you close your eyes, you can just imagine that "No Angel or Demon" might be a lost Pentagram track from 1973. After the more straightforward '70s styled rockers "I Want You To Know" and "It's So Easy" (think Humble Pie or Grand Funk Railroad), the monstrous doom returns on "You Bury Your Head" with deep booming riffs and Pelander's reverb laden vocals. Again, if you love early Black Sabbath and Pentagram, this one will be right up your alley. The album closes with "Her Sisters They Were Weak", another psychedelic tinged rocker with some haunting flute to go along with mysterious vocals and understated guitar work, all culminating into a crushing doomy death march.
Witchcraft signaled the arrival of a band that in many ways started this whole Swedish '70s doom resurgence which now includes Graveyard, Horisont,Noctum, and many others. The band also helped bring awareness to the legendary Pentagram, as they have started to gain some of the recognition that they never received back in the early part of their career. Witchcraft have gone through numerous line-up changes in the 8 years since this debut, but they are still carrying the torch and with recently signing to Nuclear Blast the future continues to look bright for them.
1."Witchcraft" – 6:00
2."The Snake" – 2:48
3."Please Don't Forget Me" (Liebling) – 2:13
4."Lady Winter" – 2:58
5."What I Am" – 3:45
6."Schyssta lögner" – 1:57
7."No Angel or Demon" – 3:28
8."I Want You to Know" – 3:16
9."It's So Easy" – 3:53
10."You Bury Your Head" – 4:40
11."Her Sisters They Were Weak" – 6:00