I was truly gobsmacked to find out that I did not know anything about Witchcraft! Where have I been? Under a damn rock? Their latest record came to my attention and has just blown me away, wow! Formed in 2000 by Magnus Prelander so that he could play a tribute to his idols Roky Erikson and Bobby Liebling and still going strong 15 years later, Witchcraft have released their 5th studio album, NUCLEUS.
Their debut album ‘Witchcraft‘ was created in a basement using vintage equipment, and so, their very distinctive 70s vibe was formed to become one of Sweden’s finest, psychedelic ,classic rock bands. After the mind blowing success of their previous album ‘Legend‘ released in 2012 the wait has been truly worth it for loyal fans. ‘Nucleus‘ is almost 70 minutes of a pure melancholic, raging, fragile, melody – driven masterpiece in many unique ways. The very powerful new line up of Prelander on vocal and guitar, Tobias Anger on bass and Rage Widerberg on drums are defintely pushing the boat out, as some of these tunes range from 3 minutes to over 15.
‘Malstroem‘ awakens this jewel of an album with an ambient, acoustic guitar that slowly builds into a rather meaty, chugging session, as electric takes over. This is quite a reflection on how this album plays out and has been put together. Lots of instrumentals with deep, doom vocals that are quite haunting and very reminiscent of The Doors and at other times Jethro Tull. People may argue from time to time that this band are not really true heavy metal, however, I as a newcomer to the band, definitely hear a Sabbath and C.O.C influence in the undercurrents. I absolutely loved the raw, roughness of ‘Theory Of Consequence‘ which is heavy and sounds likes it was scraped straight from the 70s.
‘The Outcast‘ continues to fulfil that heavy groove slot with just the right touch of aggression and ear catching riffs causing my to head nod, a lot, because this band are just plain baddass. This song ends with an epic solo and all I can say is, enjoy.
The title track ‘Nucleus‘ is what made me fall in love with this album. It’s a dreamy, atmospheric, soul snatcher of a song to begin with. Prelander enters with velvety, passionate tones, and I can safely say that he has well and truly out done himself on this track, as I just sat my pen down, and simply absorbed the wonderland of sound that was surrounding me. Classic heavy metal mixed with a range of psychedelic sounds that gave me butterflies in my stomach. Just 14 minutes of sheer brilliance. This lead head long into a gut deep monster of a riff in ‘An Exorcism Of Doubts‘ where it felt like darkness and sadness lived together. Almost stoner rock half way with a beautiful solo and then once again you’re dragged back into the Sabbath influence, when it heavies up nicely to end.
A seriously catchy drum beat and heavy riff from almost distorted sounding guitars opens ‘The Obsessed‘. This is classic rock that will just rip the head off your shoulders with teeth-gritting rage. This album started off dreamy, gently drawing me into its clutches under the pretence that it was all haunting and classic, but I can tell you by the time I got to ‘To Trancend Bitterness‘ i was, well, headbanging around my living room like a madman. This is a damn heavy song with thudding, chugging, riffage.
Oh my, when ‘Helpless‘ began I thought I was getting a break from the beastly heavy riffs as the guitar sweetly caressed my ears, but alas no. We are coming towards the end of the album now and I don’t want it to end, it is so very, very good, and this song is just pure and simple, mesmerising, sonic exhilaration. This track has a deep chugging riff with a certain kind of head melting magic about it, the vocals on here are outstandingly chilling and compassionate; this is definitely my standout track.
Prelander, Anger and Widerberg have with an imaginative and creative alliance forged a beauty of an album. The free spirit of Prelander can be felt in every note in your pulsing veins as you make your way through this record. I for one will now be shopping for the previous four albums with eager anticipation. As the last track encapsulates me entirely, it is time once again to just close the eyes and inhale this intense body of work, which is akin to and probably equal to viewing a painting from a master like ‘Kandinsky‘ (one of my favourites).
Words By Brenda
THEORY OF CONSEQUENCE
AN EXORCISM OF DOUBTS
TO TRANCEND BITTERNESS