Blues, doom, hard rock, the occult…
Prophesied by Soulseller Records on 29 April 2016 and arriving in a sepia-tainted vision to Jason “was that what I thought it was” Guest
Laced with a bit of blues, a healthy dose of doom and heaps of hard rock and reeking of the occult, Italy’s Crowley-inspired Psychedelic Witchcraft are upon us with their first full length album, The Vision. Openers ‘A.Creature’ and ‘Witches Arise’ make the band’s straightforward approach to song writing immediately apparent. The riffs are good, there are plenty hooks, the lead breaks are melodic with a few discordant passages thrown in to create a bit of bedlam, the rhythm section is focussed, and vocalist Virginia Monti has a compelling and distinct style. So far, so so.
It’s not until the cool 70s hard rock vibe of ‘Demon Liar’ that the album starts to do something better than just good and with ‘Wicked Ways’ giving a few nods in the direction of Black Sabbath, the band’s skills begin to emerge. That is until ‘The Night’ throws a spanner in the works with its simple structure, monotonous riffs, ordinary drumming and lacklustre vocal and lead work. Fortunately for us all, ‘The Only One That Knows’ arrives at just the right time to inject a healthy dose of blues-heavy emotion into proceedings. The hard rock ‘War’ sees the album shift up a gear, Monti delivering the chorus line “You won’t win this war” with a cool passion and a celebratory defiance that underpins the fiery uptempo coda and infuses the bold ‘Different’ before the album closes out with ‘Magic Hour Blues’ and the band shimmering as one.
The Vision takes a while to pick up. Four of the nine tracks are good but they don’t have the same kind of the impact that the rest do. The rawness of the album serves its occult and its emotional aspects well and the band’s no frills approach, for the most part, works well enough. Though lyrically, the album’s not great, it’s Monti’s vocals that stand out above all else, her voice soulful and haunting and her delivery powerful and affecting. Generally though, this feels restrained, as if they’re holding back. A heavier, perhaps darker tone and the odd extended jam where the band can really lash out and they’d be onto something. Okay, so Psychedelic Witchcraft aren’t up to the same level as Blood Ceremony or Jess & The Ancient Ones – yet – but they’re on the right path: the left hand one.
7 out of 10
- Witches Arise
- Demon Liar
- Wicked Ways
- The Night
- The Only One That Knows
- Magic Hour Blues