Witchcraft - Legend
Nuclear Blast
Traditional Heavy Metal/Hard Rock
10 songs (56:42)
Release year: 2012
Witchcraft, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Khelek
Album of the year

Many know Witchcraft for their modern, yet vintage sounding folkish rock albums, although over the past 10 years years they have shown that they can do many different things well, from doom metal to pure acoustic rock. The Swedes have definitely gone for a more traditional hard rock/heavy metal sound on Legend, their first album in 5 years and their first on Nuclear Blast. The riffs are much heavier than on much of their past work, bringing bands such as Black Sabbath, Dio, and Iron Maiden to mind. My first Witchcraft listening experience came when I heard the single No Angel or Demon, so I have always liked the heavier songs on their albums. Fortunately on Legend the band has chosen to write something that incorporates both heaviness and a rare skill in crafting riffs, melodies, and just plain listenable songs.

As soon as I heard the opening riffs of Deconstruction I felt like I was listening to a Dio album, and that's not a bad thing since I love the huge, catchy riffs. The tempo picks up as frontman and founding member Magnus Pelander's singing comes in. He sounds great as usual and the production on this album is noticeably more modern and clear compared to their past work. However, it still has that fuzzy, almost-analog quality that sounds great along with a lot more attention being paid to the bass end of the sound. I really like the simple yet effective soloing on Flag Of Fate, it shows that the technical finesse of the band has certainly not decreased with the addition of members Simon Solomon and Tom Jondelius on guitars and drummer Oscar Johansson, in fact it may be even at its highest. The single It's Not Because Of You proves this beyond a should of a doubt. It is simply a great hard rock song any way you slice it; it's catchy and memorable, and still incorporates plenty of technical skill even though it follows a relatively basic song structure. It's one of those songs you can't help but want to sing along to. An Alternative To Freedom reminds me of something that Fireball Ministry would do, starting off with plenty of groovy slide guitar, which works excellently with the mid-paced tempo of this song. Ghosts House creates more of an atmosphere with more lonesome, melodic guitars, yet it also still manages to have plenty of energy with a catchy chorus driven by massive riffs. To see the influences that seem to have had the most influence on these guys, really take a listen to Ghosts House, which has a definite Dio/Rainbow feeling to it. The guitar riffs are excellent, as is the singing of Pelander. I have always liked his laid-back singing style, and contrasted with the more aggressive and heavier riffs it really shines. Well, I could go on about the positives of each song on this album, but I do have to point out a few minor gripes. For one thing, while it is a good album, it's also a safe album, and I can't help but think that the move to Nuclear Blast combined with the lineup changes may have had something to do with that. Conspiracy theories aside though, I really liked the sort of wandering, almost progressive nature of Witchcraft's folky/doomy previous albums, specifically The Alchemist (I will admit after further listening, White Light Suicide and Dystopia do go back to their softer and more experimental side somewhat, but not much and not as effectively). That has certainly been overlooked on this album to a large extent; although I'm not going to degrade the album for not being something that it is clearly not meant to be.

At the end of the day, I have listened to this album many times over a few weeks and at no point have I wanted to turn it off, nor have I wanted to skip any particular track. It's simply a masterfully done heavy metal album that proves tried and true formulas laid down by the founders of metal can still be applied. It's been a long wait, but Witchcraft delivers the goods once again.

Killing Songs :
Every song is of excellent quality, but the standout tracks are Deconstruction, It's Not Because Of You, Ghosts House, White Light Suicide
Khelek quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by Witchcraft that we have reviewed:
Witchcraft - Firewood reviewed by Alex and quoted 89 / 100
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