Monday, January 4, 2016

Witchcraft : "Nucleus"

This Swedish doom band is getting it right on their 5th full length. It seems more metal than what I have heard from these guys in the past and the vocals have a more mournful plea to them that makes for a darker listen.This also gives them a sound more akin to Solitude Aeturnus or Trouble.  They do tread the line at times between stoner and doom. The pace picks up in the less dirge like " Theory of Consequence" that still is heavy in the Sabbath worship, despite the vocals finding their own personality. The lumbering boogie is not as dark here . They go into an almost Jethro Tull like groove on "the Outcast"  that forsakes all doom for a more classic rock inspired jam. While it's much more upbeat it's well written and well executed so kinda hard to argue against as they do this much better than many of the other retro rock bands that try to pull from this era. The singers voice finds more of a rousing rock grit when the song builds. The twelve minute title track has more of a "Stairway to Heaven" like intro before creeping back into darker almost Doors flavored territory. Seven and a half minutes in it's not a bad song but isn't really taking me anywhere unexpected.

They return to the more shadow filled doom on the organic yet ominous "An Exorcism of Doubts". This one is much more blues based, but still manages to build metallic momentum. With some pretty powerful riffs that might owe their DNA to Sabbath, but still find the band's collective personality. It ebbs back back in a much more impressive fashion than most bands of their ilk can muster. "The Obsessed" is only like Wino's band of the same name due to it's over driven bong fueled rumble. This album is well produced knowing when to polish the tones and when to let rawness prevail. "To Transcend Bitterness" finds the vocals providing the bulk of the dynamics as Their singer takes a more commanding metal tone to his voice as called for.There is a vulnerability to his voice that reminds me of Diamond Head. It's the creeping chug that follows the more tender intro to "Helpless" where their metal side is really shown. The vocals continue to flex their dynamic pipes on this one as well.The song drones a little on the same riff for the bulk of the actual song once it kicks in. It would be cool to hear these guys do a cover of the Tom Petty song, but "Breakdown", instead this 12 minute sprawl is a minimalist piece of apocalyptic blues. At seven minutes in it transforms into a rumbling stoner rock stomp. This transition is not one of the albums smoothest even though it comes out of a sample the song comes to a stop for. The vocals take on a more desperate rant.It drones on the riff that brings the song to a climax. There is more of an almost New Wave of British Heavy Metal feel to "Chasing Rainbows". It holds my attention more in the initial verse than it does as the song progresses. I'll round this up to a 9 as the album slightly loses it momentum in the final two songs, but maybe they need to grow on me. Overall this is much better than I expected going into this and the band has really grown.

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