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Witchcraft: Firewood

Here's a groovy little 70's sounding hard rock gem that was actually recorded here in 2005 by the Swedish band Witchcraft. Combining elements of doom bands like Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Cathedral, and Saint Vitus, with classic rock legends like Grand Funk Railroad, UFO, The Doors, T2, and Free, Witchcraft easily fit into that category of great retro bands currently topped by Big Elf, and fellow Swedes Lucifer Was and Svarte Pan, who amazingly are able to recreate the look and feel of the vintage 70's acts. Firewood is chock full of meaty guitar riffs, blues based solos dripping with fuzz tone, and solid lead vocals. While Witchcraft seem to be lumped into the doom/stoner category more often than not these days, with their sophomore release here I think they do a much stronger job just creating that 70's vibe than anything else. Sure, there's plenty of doom majesty on "Queen of Bees", complete with thick, heavy guitar riffs and plodding rhythms very reminiscent of early Black Sabbath, but there are also the bluesy, groove-laden tunes like "Mr. Haze" and "Chylde of Fire" that bring to mind the first few Grand Funk Railroad albums as well. The production on this piece is perfect as far as getting that late 60's-early 70's vibe, in fact at times I felt like I was listening to Grand Funk, Black Sabbath, Phenomenon, or It'll All Work Out in Boomland as far as that certain vintage sound is concerned. The guitar work especially is crunchy, with just enough fuzz and reverb, and propels songs like "Wooden Cross (I Can't Wake the Dead)" and "If Wishes Were Horses" to enjoyable heights that warrant repeated listens. Vocals are in English with a slight Swedish accent, somewhat in the style of Jim Morrison but with a more operatic edge, and work well with the music.

If you love classic doom, or just good dark, heavy 60's rock, you can't go wrong with Firewood. I can see this band catching on in a big way, and it will be interesting to see what they do next. Perhaps they can bring in a Hammond organ player and really take this to another level with their next release? Wouldn't that be special? In the meantime, dig in folks.

Track Listing
1) Chylde of Fire
2) If Wishes Were Horses
3) Mr. Haze
4) Wooden Cross (I Can't Wake the Dead)
5) Queen of Bees
6) Merlin's Daughter
7) I See a Man
8) Sorrow Evoker
9) You Suffer
10) Attention! (w/When the Screams Come)

Added: August 21st 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Witchcraft Website
Hits: 4551
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Witchcraft: Firewood
Posted by Scott Borre, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-08-21 05:57:58
My Score:

Firewood is the second album released by Witchcraft, a band that is heavily influenced by the plethora of 60s-80s hard rock/heavy metal bands. They combine elements of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Yardbirds, Rolling Stones, The Doors, and even Jethro Tull. Thus the band and the album are not easily classified. However, they sound similar to the band that perhaps influenced them the most, Pentagram. The only complaint about this album, is that at times the influences are too much. For example, on the first track, "Chylde of fire," there are times when the lead singer, Magnus Pelander, sings way too similar to Ozzy. However, the singing is very good, and he can also incorporate styles of Ian Anderson, Robert Plant, and Jimi Hendrix.

That said, Witchcraft does what they do extremely well. The guitar solos, in the aforementioned influences style, is excellent, and is easy to rock to. The songs are typically supported by the solid rhythm bass playing from Ola Henriksson. The songs can fully rock out, or as in parts of Mr. Haze, can be more doom oriented. After listening to "Sorrow Evoker" there is no turning back, the flute just pulls you in, and forces you listen; and then listen again. Fans of Pentagram, should make sure to wait through the silent break at the end of the last track, for the cover of Pentagram's "When the screams come." Firewood, has received numerous spins from me, and I have no plan to shelve it. I would not do justice to this band to just say that they sound 'retro,' because while they do, they are not just a lesser copy of the past, but easily equal it, and back then would have been popular in their own right.

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