March 31, 2018

Witchcraft - Legend (Limited Edition) (2012)

*Limited edition digipack release. Contains 1 bonus track. 10 tracks total. A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: Sweden
Language: English
Genre: Hard Rock, Doom Metal
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© 2012 Nuclear Blast Records
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
Witchcraft's career appeared to be running on empty following the release of third album The Alchemist which, though graced with several memorable songs, once again failed to improve upon or evolve in any way beyond the Swedish group's watershed debut -- one of a handful of 21st century LPs responsible for renewing younger listeners' curiosity about heavy metal's primal '70s aesthetic. No breakup was ever officially announced but bandmembers quietly dispersed to the four winds: some duly resurfaced in a new band named Troubled Horse and there was talk of a pending solo album from Witchcraft leader Magnus Pelander, but this turned into a 2010 EP, and then, following two more years of suspenseful uncertainty, there came concrete news at last that his former band would indeed rise again. When it did, via 2012's portentously named Legend, Pelander and returning bassist Ola Henriksson were supported by new drummer Oscar Johansson and not one but two guitarists in Simon Solomon and Tom Jondelius, whose fluid musical interplay wound up driving and defining a relatively fresh creative direction for the reconstituted band. Gone, for the most part, is Witchcraft's penchant for hazy, drug-fueled sloth and demo-like production values (both of these attributes motivated by Pelander's original fixation on Pentagram), replaced by a brasher, more focused, latter-day doom and stoner rock attack redolent of Spirit Caravan, Sasquatch, or Sahg. Right off the bat, opening number "Deconstruction" may have best been named "reconstruction" in order to properly reflect the fuller, more urgent hard rock sound adopted by Witchcraft Mk II -- as well as the constantly shifting twin guitar riffs that effectively make it three songs in one. Later on, "Ghosts House" crescendos behind rousing, fleet-fingered melodies, "Dystopia" simply blends them with minor chords to chilling effect, and when "An Alternative to Freedom" introduces slides and a Southern rock soul to the party, eyebrows really start to arch (becoming one massive unibrow of wonder by the time the multi-faceted, 12-minute odyssey, "Dead End," has its say -- woooaaaahhhhh.) On the downside, though, Pelander's lyrics can still sound vague, confusing, or even downright silly at times (e.g. "It's Not Because of You," "Democracy"), and here's where the band's newly bombastic approach can help cover up a few blemishes while keeping the listener's pulse pumping like never before. No, Legend is obviously not perfect (never mind "legendary"), but there's nevertheless plenty of mesmerizing songcraft matched with these evolutionary nuances to inaugurate the second phase of Witchcraft's career with great promise. After all, the old band was never really broken so much as stagnant, and with that in mind, Legend feels exactly like the self-inflicted kick in the butt needed to set things to rights.

tags: witchcraft, legend, limited edition, 2012, flac,

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