Scarecrow – Scarecrow II (Review)

Scarecrow - Scarecrow IIThis is the second album from Russian doom rockers Scarecrow.

Scarecrow play a classic, old-school mix of doom, hard rock, heavy blues, prog rock, psychedelia, and proto-metal.

Scarecrow II is a 44-minute time travelling psychedelic journey into the past, with the band as very capable guides. If you think of a 70s-style rock band, with some beefy guitars, the occasional Continue reading “Scarecrow – Scarecrow II (Review)”

Brimstone Coven – Black Magic (Review)

Brimstone CovenBrimstone Coven are a Hard Rock band from the US. This is their second album.

Brimstone Coven worship at the smoky altar of all things 60s and 70s. Black Sabbath, Pentagram and Led Zeppelin may be obvious reference points, but there’s more going on here than you might expect and Black Magic is a well-rounded release that is greater than the sum of its influences.

This album has a pleasingly authentic sound, both in the recording and the vibes that seem to come off the music in heady waves.

The main vocalist’s voice suits the music well and there’s lots of catchy singing going on here, which works well with the equally catchy music. The band also employ multi-singer harmonies and put these to good use.

The music is instantly familiar and it’s easy to get into this and feel a pleasant buzz emanating from it. The songs contain so many good riffs and warm melodies that every song has something pretty damn special to offer.

Black Magic gives us 55 minutes of music to entrance and captivate. If you’re in the mood for this kind of thing then it really is up there with the best of them. With top-drawer songwriting and a decent amount of variety and moods to explore, this is a very enjoyable release.

I’m not always a huge fan of music that takes its inspiration from this era, (although bands such as Witchcraft, Agusa, Ecstatic Vision and Greenleaf have been known to frequent my playlist from time to time…), but when it’s done well and with enthusiasm and passion as it clearly is on Black Magic, the result is infectious and hard to ignore.

Highly recommended.

Witchcraft – Nucleus (Review)

WitchcraftThis is the fifth album from Swedish Doom/Psychedelic Rock band Witchcraft.

Playing the easy-listening proto-Metal Doom Rock so beloved in the 1970s, while also incorporating wider sounds from 60s psychedelia, Witchcraft have the retro vibe fully sewn up. It would be sickening if it wasn’t so damn good.

That’s the real central point about a band like this; they really are just that good. There’s a lot of music on Nucleus, but all of it is stamped with pure quality and it soars high over the heads of most bands that try their hand at this kind of thing.

Another interesting aspect of Nucleus is that even though it positively wallows in the past, and the production embraces this, it still sounds solid, professional and tight, despite an unashamedly old-school sound in many ways. Put simply, they manage to sound huge and polished without actually being overtly so. Impressive.

I like that there’s an exploratory sound to their music, influenced by the more progressive aspects of the 70s in some ways; it feels like the band are taking you along on their own personal journey and you’re not quite sure what you’re going to see. Which is another reason why they’re so good – this isn’t just your normal Trad-Doom-by-numbers release, as there’s a lot more going on here, hidden in plain sight.

There’s a wide range of song lengths on this release, from the short to the very long. Lighter, rockier moments share space with Doomier ones and the overall impression is of a well-thought-out album that has all of its bases covered for what it wants to achieve.

The singer’s voice is charismatic and easily-likeable. His performance is first-rate and speaks of a confidence of delivery honed through experience.

Very nice. Very enjoyable.