The first time I heard 'It's Not Because of You', the lead-off single to the long-awaited and much anticipated fourth album from veteran doom/retro rockers Witchcraft, I didn't know what to make of it. This isn't like them. Wasn't the song perhaps a little too bouncy, a little too ecstatic? The riff didn't sound '70s enough. What a poor choice for a single, I thought, this will only turn long time fans off and not attract many new ones. So I put the song away for a week or so forgetting about it and moving on to the next thing as 'uncomplicated' minds are wont to do.
Once I put my expectations to bed however and gave the song a second chance it quickly became one of the most addictive songs of late summer. So fun to sing along to, what with Magnus Pelander's unique vocal delivery, a feature of the group's sound that provides the album with its largest sense of familiarity and continuity among their legendary (pun intended) catalogue. That's not to say that the band has done a complete 180 but it has expanded into more progressive and (I think) brighter territory. This album is littered with percussive punctuation! The overall sound is more dynamic and modern to a greater or lesser extent which is highlighted well with an updated kind of production style. This is what initially scared me off and probably will scare off a lot of die hards who have had five years to forget the last album and only want a return to the same thing over and over again (not that I can blame that attitude, the sound was great). Plus, is it just me or has Pelander never sounded so confident in his delivery?
Lyrically, the songs are candid and political, at times introspective and other times anthemic. Streamlined and hard driving, dynamic and full bodied, that's how I would describe the sound of this album if such words were worth anything when trying to describe music which I don't think they are. So let's just say that the album is good. It's probably not what you were expecting but it's Real Good. It warrants repeat plays and there's so much going on that I'm not going to get bored of this thing anytime soon. Songs like 'An Alternative to Freedom', 'Ghosts House', and 'White Light Suicide' (recently featured on the Soggy Bog of Doom Podcast (9/25/12)) will be in my constant rotation for months to come.
Turns out that 'It's Not Because of You' was a wise choice of first single for this album afterall, as it is representative of the overall sound which is very dynamic and most importantly Good. Real good!
Reminds me of: When good bands change but still sound good. Highly original.
My Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Psychedelic, Hard Rock, Retro Rock, Doom
1). Deconstruction (5:10)
2). Flag of Fate (4:36)
3). It's Not Because of You (4:14)
4). An Alternative to Freedom (5:18)
5). Ghosts House (4:17)
6). White Light Suicide (5:17)
7). Democracy (3:49)
8). Dystopia (6:47)
9). Dead End (12:11)
bonus track (on CD version)
10). By Your Definition (5:12)
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Speed walking down the street / speed pacing around the room while muttering angrily about the government/current state of society.
Fast n Bulbous
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