It's been five years. Five long, long years since I've held a new Witchcraft album in my hands and I have to be honest, there were times when I thought I'd never see this day. I'm pleased to report that this album was worth every day, every hour, every second of the wait.
Sweden's Witchcraft was at the forefront of the whole retro-70's movement that over took the stoner rock/doom metal scene over the last decade. Their second album, 2005's Firewood, was the benchmark which dozens upon dozens of bands have been striving for ever since. Fast forward to this year and Witchcraft have given us their fourth full length album, Legend.
From the opening guitar riff of "Deconstruction" fans of all things doom/stoner rock/Black Sabbath worship are going to instantly realize that they are about to enter 'ear orgasm' territory. Gone are the flute solos and the often nymph-like vibe of the last album, 2007's The Alchemist. Those are welcomed and perfectly acceptable elements for their sound but on this album Witchcraft delivers their heaviest, grittiest and most pummeling effort to date. This is a band that clearly spent the last five years chiseling their brand of "rock" into a very dangerous weapon.
That's not to say they've strayed from the brand of retro-70's occult rock that they perfected on previous efforts. On the contrary, this album is a natural progression for Witchcraft. Imagine if you will a similar path that was tread as when Black Sabbath went from the "radio friendly" Paranoid album (or as radio friendly as Sabbath ever got) to the album that arguably did the most to lay the groundwork for the birth of doom metal, Master of Reality. It should not be understated what adding a second guitarist, as Witchcraft did on this album, can do for your sound. Witchcraft have always been masters of the riff. They've always had those moments when you suddenly dropped whatever it was you were doing and went into a methodical head banging, horns held aloft for Lucifer to see. Those moments just happen to be more bountiful and more powerful on this album.
With that said, thanks in part to some of the best clean vocals in all the metal world, exceptional production, and outstanding songwriting this album could appeal to a fairly wide audience of "rock" fans, especially if the U.S. radio stations weren't afraid of real rock n' roll music (which they are). But persoanlly I'm o.k. with sharing Witchcraft with only those smart enough to be in the know as long as the numbers within our ranks continue to climb. This band and this album deserve it. Witchcraft have easily crafted one of the best albums that will rise up out of the metal world this year. If I used a 10 point rating system I would say in all seriousness that this one goes to 11.