Psychedelic Witchcraft – Magic Rites and Spells


Crowley might well weep…

Allan Jones was filled with light on 28 October 2016

Psychedelic Witchcraft (for those who haven’t heard of them) are a bluesy stoner-rock act with a heavy occult hand on the tiller. It’s more Jefferson Airplane than Black Sabbath, mind, although there are a few Iommi-inspired solos thrown in along the way for fun. Fronted by Virginia Monti, the female vocal layered over the top of the fuzzy stoner-rock guitar vibe invokes the psychedelia-tinged 70s rather well, but with vocal leanings toward ritual and magick (spelled with a ‘k’ in true Aleister Crowley style).

Sadly, Crowley’s ‘do what thou wilt’ has been misunderstood and doesn’t seem to have taken hold, and I’m not sure exactly what this album is – or if, in fact, it is actually an album in the strictest sense of the word. From the press release, I’m given to understand that this is basically five tracks that didn’t make it onto the debut album ‘The Vision’ and four tracks from their first EP ‘Black Magic Man’ tacked onto the end of it. Unfortunately, listening to it does suggest that it might have been better to leave those tracks where they were in the first place and get on with writing something new instead.

It’s not that they’re not reasonably good tracks – it’s just that it’s a backward step from last years’ debut album when forward progress should have been on the cards. Ending with their first EP as well just seems to suggest that they’re looking backward instead of forward, too. The band’s Facebook page talked about the band ‘evolving’ and ‘change’ which led me to expect new things, some boundaries pushed, and something more than a new drummer. Instead, we get a cover of ‘Godzilla’, and stuff that they didn’t put on a 35-minute debut. Essentially, we get more of the weaker tracks that Jason complained about in his earlier review and an EP they’ve already released that predates it.

Production is scrappy although to an extent that actually works in the album’s favour – it keeps it raw and personal, which suits the overall tone. Monti’s vocals are still magnificent, and it must be said that overall it’s not a bad album at all. It’s just that it feels more like something that their label have told them to release rather than something the band have worked on and were excited about releasing. For those who haven’t already picked up their debut EP, it might be worth it as there are some decent tracks on it – but the rest should probably just have been put onto an ‘extended edition’ of their debut rather than attempting to pass it off as a new album.

I think that they can do a lot better – the promise is certainly there in both this and their debut that they can deliver. Maybe next time?

psychedelic-witchcraft-magic-rites-and-spells6 out of 10

Track list:

  1. Come A Little Closer
  2. Godzilla
  3. Set Me Free
  4. Wicked Dream
  5. The Dark Lord
  6. Angela
  7. Lying On Iron
  8. Black Magic Man
  9. Slave Of Grief