Witchcraft - The Alchemist
8 October 2007

01. Walk Between The Lines
02. If Crimson Was Your Colour
03. Leva
04. Hey Doctor
05. Samaritan Burden
06. Remembered
07. The Alchemist (parts 1, 2 & 3)

Fuck Satan, let's just take drugs!

...or at least that is what the dudes from Witchcraft should have said, instead of spreading their attention thin between the two. One of the wonderful things about metal music is that it is not tied down to any particular social or political cause, besides perhaps supporting the Tinnitus party. This allows bands who put credence in their convictions to use the empowering metal sound structure as means to an end that is ultimately ideologically motivated. Witchcraft's latest album, The Alchemist occupies the unusual position of sounding fresh and hungry but having lyrics more trite than dialogues in The Bold And The Beautiful.

Musically this album is very interesting indeed. The Swedes jumped head-first into Roky Ericson worship this time around, with a touch of Pentagram thrown in for good measure. Ericson was notable, particularly with his 80s solo albums, for introducing a unique focus on madness and the mind-altering properties of music - an emphasis far more interesting than the childish horror-movie imagery that metal has traditionally been associated with. At least musically, Witchcraft matches this emphasis on The Alchemist - the riffs are hypnotic and mystical, there is a very potent element of psychedelia present in almost every note and the singer's vocal stylings recall the ambiguous sanity of the 13th Floor Elevators' famous vocalist. Sadly, his lyrics do not. Lines such as 'In our darkest hour/ When the dragon releases its power' or the particularly amusing 'I can blow your mind!' unfortunately reveal that there is no greater depth behind the storming music. This, in my mind, is a sore disappointment. Sure, those sigils appearing in various RPG literature might look cool and mystical, but they reveal nothing more than a sentimental nostalgia for Campbellian tales of fantasy. This Alchemist does not dwell in actual sorcery but merely in hero worship.

Just to be clear, all of this still does not prevent the music on this album from being absolutely phenomenal. Ignore the lyrics, the lack of depth and direction and what you have left is a nearly flawless psychedelic sludge doom metal release, with excellent tracks like "Hey Doctor" or "Walk Between The Lines" putting most bands in the genre to shame. Nevertheless... lads from Witchcraft, I have some advice for you - either stop hanging out in Games Workshop stores or leave reinventing a legend like Ericson to bands like Entombed.

Band profile: Witchcraft
Album: The Alchemist


Written on 09.02.2008 by
With Metal Storm since 2002, jupitreas has been subjecting the masses to his reviews for quite a while now. Privately not actually an asshole, he lives in Warsaw, Poland, where he runs his small graphic and web design business.
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destroyah - 09.02.2008 at 22:30  
I didn't actually pay attention to the lyrics but I do love the music on this one - a great mix between traditional doom and psychedelic rock. Somewhat more upbeat than the band's previous works though.

But all in all, a highly enjoyable record.
Dangerboner - 10.02.2008 at 02:24  
This album is great, but the vocals are too loud. Good review.
Doc Godin - 10.02.2008 at 08:53  
Yeah, I have there previous album "Firewood", and it doesn't sound to different from this. Enjoyable but nothing that original.
HardSide - 11.02.2008 at 02:22  
are these the same guys from the early 90's? i have a demo tape lying around with a band called witchcraft.
John Barleycorn - 01.03.2008 at 01:59  
extremely seductive album, I even like the cheesy lyrics
serpentsegg - 14.01.2010 at 04:03  
I could not diss-agree about the lyrics more. Witchcraft are some of the best song writers around, both musically and lyrically. There is not a track on this record I don't absolutely love, it's just a little short at forty only min.
Jan - 25.04.2010 at 21:51  
I just bought this on a whim, based on the good vibe the cover gave me.

Glad I did - this is quite good.

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