The old-school psychedelic rock produced by Witchcraft is pretty strong for a band originally just formed to cover Pentagram. 15 years in, Nucleus appears on Nuclear Blast (how neat), laden with riffs and wailing 1970’s guitar solos. Singer Magnus Pelander and his band have the sense of drama you want from this stuff too. CD or double LP.
Vinyl Double LP £17.99 0727361354817
2LP on Nuclear Blast.
CD £10.99 NB3548-0
Digipak CD on Nuclear Blast.
9/10 Nick 3rd February 2016
Nucleus is Witchcraft’s first album in 4 years and Sweden’s finest are back with a masterpiece. Witchcraft have managed to produce 5 albums of sheer brilliance – attributed to Magnus Pelander's vision and inimitable voice.
Firstly this is a PROG record, it would sit perfectly alongside Wishbone Ash or Hawkwind as much as it would Saint Vitus or Pentagram. The songs are full of character and blend perfectly to produce a solid cohesive piece of music as opposed to their previous album Legend (which I personally found far too clinical). Nucleus borrows its themes from Focus or Jethro Tull as much it does Black Sabbath.
This 2 x LP is a beast of epic proportions and really should be listened to on vinyl too so you get the pleasure of listening to each side.
It kicks off with Maelstrom a classic 8+ minutes track that really shows how experimental the band have become since 2004. Beautiful arrangements build the track up from an acoustic flurry to a wave of true proto doom.
Theory of Consequence sounds like the Swedes have channelled early Saint Vitus, even down to the lyrics 'The danse macabre, ignored by you, supported by fiction, it’s so real it’s not real. Stupid and dumb, your favourite words, you know you co-exist, in this world of worlds' and paired with giant Dave Chandler riff worship.
The Outcast was the first single from the album and is full of Jethro Tull and Focus as flutes accompany the roaring guitar parts to a wonderful tempo much like something from Firewood.
Nucleus kicks off with 14 mins of sheer Sabbath appreciation culminating in atonal chanting before An Exorcism of Doubts kicks in utilising dual harmonies and massive primitive beats before returning to their traditional doom roots.
The Obsessed is a fuzz laden groove ensemble oozing with 70’s nods and even the track name gives you the impression the band had Wino on their minds.
To Transcend Bitterness is where Witchcraft go fully into their love of Pentagram ‘Feeding the dust of your children, children devoid of loving caring hands, but the hunger turns into cynical cravings, blinded by their discontent’ it is certainly a highlight of the record and Iommi would be proud!
As the album nears its close we are handed a truly organic pre-outro with Helpless. Haunting melodies and flute passages are layered between down-tempo slabs of righteous riffs. This makes way for one last delivery of PURE DOOM: Breakdown, a 15 minute experimental expanse of guitar effects and Pelander’s trademark voice. After 7 minutes we are eased in with a classic horror sample before the heaviest riff since 1970 envelops the sky around you and delivers the final nail in the coffin.
I cannot recommend this record enough, in a world full of Iommi tribute riffs and faux vintage flares Witchcraft are the anomaly. They belong in the 70’s and embody everything about one of the greatest eras known in music. Tune in / Sabb off.
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- Nucleus by Witchcraft
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