September 8, 2012 by Dan Swinhoe
September is a busy month. Devin’s Epicloud, Down’s EP One, and Steve Harris’s British Lion will all see the light of day in the next few weeks. Not only that, Phil Anselmo will be debuting his solo tracks in a split with Warbeast. It’s funny how, with the exception of Devin, all of these releases have been in gestation for a while; Down haven’t released anything in five years, and the two solo released have been in the pipeline for yonks.
And you can add Witchcraft to that list. Last seen more than five years ago with their excellent release, The Alchemist, the album that inspired Phil Anselmo to reform Down, they then played a few gigs and went on hiatus. Fast forward to today, and Witchcraft are back with a completely new line-up (only vocalist Magnus Pelander remains) and a new album in Legend.
The first single, It’s Not Because Of You, promises great things. The Sabbath-fuelled 70s rock sounds is still there, but the production has been given a shot in the arm. The record sounds crystal clear, yet retains the warm quality that made previous efforts so listenable. Now Magnus has moved away from guitar duties to focus solely on his vocals, he sounds even better. His unique tones sound so fragile but he’s easily able to belt out a line whenever he wants. It’s incredibly catchy and strangely uplifting for what was originally a cult Doom band, sounding almost mainstream at times, before the huge chorus comes in.
The b-side, Take Me With You When You Die, is a rhythmic, hypnotic track very reminiscent of Sabbath’s Faeries Wear Boots, but without being a carbon copy or cheap imitation. Magnus’s vocals are more restrained, building to peaks before quieting down again. It’s far more sinister than the a-side and closer to the band’s older material from the likes of The Alchemist. Still brilliant, mind.
Another track, Ghost House, has also been premiered, and rocks in equal measure. Legend is set to be a big step for the band, and could be in the running for record of the year. Have a listen to the single below and let us know what you think…
The vinyl single is available from Nuclear Blast in a choice of three colours; black, copper and green. Yummy.