Witchcraft – Black Metal
Swedish doom rockers Witchcraft from Örebro started out in the year 2000 and was actually originally a tribute band to the legendary Pentagram. Since then, the music has varied from very old school 70’s occult rock to doom and on the latest albums, perhaps a bit more modern feeling in comparison to the first three records. The new album is called “Black Metal”, so perhaps you’re now wondering if Witchcraft have changed their style completely and started wearing corpse paint whilst schreeching about the devil over ice cold riffs? Nope, sorry. In spite of the name, there is not a single blast beat to be found.
Actually, there is not even a single distorted guitar what so ever to be found on this album. “Black Metal” is a completely acoustic affair. Just the heartfelt voice of Magnus Pelander backed up with a soft and gentle, not plugged in guitar.
A lot of bands have tried this before with a variety of results and the most important thing when you experiment with this format, is that you not make it boring. Simplistic, mellow and laid back can, if done correctly, be amazing. Warm, beautiful and soothing. Perfect for relaxing with some candles or maybe just listen to in the background. Acoustic albums can be great. I like several acoustic records. Just don’t make it boring. “Black Metal”… IS a boring album. I’m sorry, but it is. I know it is a fine line sometimes, but for me personally this falls under the category of dull records.
It starts off quite okay with the lingering “Elegantly Expressed Depression” and the second song “A Boy And A Girl” is actually my favourite on the album. After that, it gets boring and all the songs are way to similar. Even though the acoustic concept is somewhat limiting for many, I hoped that Witchcraft could mix it up a bit more than what is shown on this record. When I listened to “Black Metal” for the first time, I liked it more because of the cool concept of making an acoustic album, but for every listen I liked it less and less. It usually is the other way around. Often, you “find more” in the music the more you listen to it, but with this you just realize how flat the album is.
Perhaps I will revisit “Black Metal” in the fall, if the autumn maybe can get me in a more suitable mood for this very one dimensional acoustic album than what I felt during the blossoming spring. However, right now I feel I probably won’t listen to this again after finishing this review, because there are so many more interesting albums out there. Both acoustic and amped up.
I really like especially the first three Witchcraft records, so please consider “Black Metal” a one time failed experiment and go back to the old school doom rock instead. That’s what you do best. I respect that this was an exciting concept on paper, but it really missed the mark for me personally. Not bad musicianship in any way, but way to boring and way to similar songs.
Witchcraft can do better than this, so skip “Black Metal” and buy “Firewood” instead if you are looking to check the band out.
Title: Black Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Date of release: 1/5-20
Stand out track: A Boy And A Girl