October 18, 2007

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Witchcraft, The Alchemist
Candlelight Records, Oct. 23
Cripes, this is getting to be like the Jackie Jokeman joke about the duck trying to buy grapes at the 7-11. Swedish doom-metal crew Witchcraft beat on my door a couple of times with their two previous albums, and I may have responded once with the literary equivalent of threatening to nail their webbed feet to the floor, but hope does spring I suppose. Although the band is nowadays courting the hipster kids in the hope of pulling off a St. Vitus scam, most download-addicts will remain singularly unsold on the band’s experiments, all of which boil down to loosely pilfered Black Sabbath songs and a hacking off anything that required a second guitar lesson. An old trick we’ve discussed before, but Witchcraft refuse to leave bad enough alone, relying on a somewhat Darkness-like frontman to serve as a shield against rotten tomatoes whilst deadening their effects so that the guitars sound like Blue Cheer — actually, not even that heavy. But it’s a weird program y’all crackers are into nowadays, buying Avenged Sevenfold albums, or worse, encouraging Papa Roach with your wallets instead of, I don’t know, remixing old Iron Maiden devil-alongs. Personal bewilderment aside, Witchcraft does have something oddly Bauhaus going for them, however tenuously, which is a sight better than what a lot of the second-generation Candlemass clones are trying on for size. Things stolen from Sabbath include “Fairies Wear Boots” and “Dirty Women,” song names changed to protect the innocent and all that. C-. — Eric W. Saeger