Talk about your throwback to the 1960s or very early '70s! LEGEND is one of those albums that if you don't listen closely, you might mistake for a long lost '70s Black Sabbath demo had Ronnie James Dio been auditioning for the band that far back. While it doesn't pack the punch of the great Black Sabbath, the vibe and the aura of doom metal is all over this record. To say the least, Witchcraft is not merely a copycat band though. They have their own vibe that gloriously waves the influence of Black Sabbath on it, but also features a more straight forward rock sound that will make you 80s rockers jump for joy. LEGEND is a very cool release.
Formerly a Pentagram tribute band, Witchcraft have developed their own niche over the last 12 years. Listening to LEGEND, it's clear that these guys get what Doom Metal is supposed to be about, but have the drive to do something a bit more modern to facilitate their great vocalist Magnus Pelander. Pelander is all over the map musically, but all of it proves that you don't have to be a shred throated screamer to succeed in this style of music. Listening to songs like "Flag Of Fate", you hear a very modern sounding voice that reminds at times of Aaron Lewis of Staind. Still, other songs like "Deconstruction" have a much more classic Dio-esque sound to them vocally. Pelander is a fantastic and versatile singer, and he showcases it well here.
Let's be honest though, the strength to this band and any other Doom Metal band comes from the guitars. This is where Witchcraft shine the brightest. Not only are guitarists Simon Solomon and Tom Jondelius excellent players, but they have been recorded masterfully on LEGEND. Riffing through songs like "It's Not Because Of You", you really get to hear the bigness of their combined sound. It's really great work here. There are fuzzed out guitars in parts, but for the most part, their tuning is in the same range as a big 80s arena rock band, which just fills out the sound beautifully. They are grounded by the extremely stable and entertaining bottom end provided by drummer Oscar Johansson and bassist Ola Henriksson. Johansson is particularly good here, with a very big, full sound rarely found in this kind of music. From start to finish, every aspect of LEGEND works.
PITRIFF RATING - 87/100 - Without question, Witchcraft is a Doom Metal band that just gets what it should be about in 2012. Their music pays homage to their heroes of the past, but also steps into the modern age in quality, sound and production value. Their songs could be a little stronger, but for what this is, it's one of the more entertaining listens of the last year. Recommended.