Dusted Reviews

Witchcraft - Firewood

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Witchcraft

Album: Firewood

Label: Rise Above

Review date: Aug. 14, 2005

While teutonic Led Zep rip-offs Kingdom Come provided some classless mimesis for freedom rock starved high schoolers, they didn’t pretend to be much more than a sedulous shadow. Raison d'être was realistic; slop together some Page riffs, pummel them with Bonzo beats, and ladle Plant’s onanistic yelp over the top; the rest was gravy.

Rewind and press repeat for Sweden’s Witchcraft, which applied self-same method to Bobby Liebling’s Pentagram for their first, and self-titled record. Defying logic, the album is a flawed success, with loping bass and gargantuan guitar lines, Justin Hawyard-esque vocals, and drums that thump like the entire 20 volume Oxford English Dictionary dropped down a flight of stairs. All of the aforementioned is present for Witchcraft’s latest effort, Firewood, but in a sadly altered state.

Vocalist/guitarist Magnus Pelander still sounds like he’s perpetually on the verge of slipping into “Nights in White Satin”; guitarist John Hoyles continues to do an admirable Randy Holden act; Ola Henriksson’s basslines draw nimble Geezer’d figures, and drummer Jonas Arnsen still blasts the buckets like Bill Ward. Yet, tin-eared production compresses Witchcraft’s sound to an excruciating extent. Even worse, Firewood’s songs are so generically predictable that the band ends up sounding – ironically – like Pentagram covering a slew of Leafhound or Black Widow tunes.

Barring the odd Black Oak Arkansan up-tempo rocker, Witchcraft settle for recycling influence with little shame. When Pelander’s not reworking “Iron Man’s” instantly identifiable riff, he’s nudging the rest of the band into unnecessary changes that conflate Blue Öyster Cult’s more progressive moments with Weather Report’s family-friendly fusion.

Firewood’s best track, “I See a Man,” recalls the forged-by-fire guitar riffs that made the first release so enjoyable, walking in the same seven-story stilts that Jerusalem wore for “Primitive Man.” The titan trek’s cut off at the knees in no time, however, when drums redirect into clunky jazz territory typified by This Was era Jethro Tull.

What makes Witchcraft’s sophomore effort so disappointing is their undeniable talent: Fuck, can these guys play. Unfortunately, their abilities are wasted on lackadaisical reprocessing, and even an amateur bartender knows not to use the same ice twice.

By Stewart Voegtlin

Other Reviews of Witchcraft

The Alchemist

Read More

View all articles by Stewart Voegtlin

Find out more about Rise Above

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.