I’ve made no secret about my love for female-fronted metal bands. My affinity for doom metal/occult rock has been established as well. So when you combine the two, it definitely grabs my interest. I reviewed Psychedelic Witchcraft’s first album, The Vision over on The Sons of Metal Podcast. The band is back not even a year later with a new release, Magick Rites and Spells, which features some songs cut from The Vision, the entirety of their debut EP, Black Magic Man, and two cover songs. Are these equally choice cuts, or merely leftover scraps destined for a doggie bag?
Album opener Come a Little Closer is a slow, groovy number that puts all of the work on vocalist Virginia Monti. Get used to this, because just like The Vision, the instruments don’t do anything fancy. The riffing and rhythm can best be described as “competent”, which means they’re more of a serving platter versus the main course of the vocals.
To further illustrate this point, I’ve got to knock at least a few points off the songwriting for the song Set Me Free which openly uses the riff and structure of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs. Granted, if you’re going to “creatively borrow”, you could do a lot worse than Tony Iommi, but maybe next time choose a less-recognizable song.
Wicked Dream is the most dynamic song on Magick Rites and Spells. With frequent tempo changes, nifty hooks, and catchy melody, it jumps out as the album’s highlight. I could have used three or four more songs of this quality rather than cover songs.
Of the two cover songs, Blue Öyster Cult’s Godzilla and Sam Gopal’s The Dark Lord, the kaiju reigns supreme. Psychedelic Witchcraft’s style syncs up better with Blue Öyster Cult. Granted, the latter originally featured Lemmy, so perhaps there’s some sacred cow issues on my part I just need to get past.
Tracks six through nine are the aforementioned Black Magic Man EP. Angela, Black Magic Man, and Slave of Grief should be extremely familiar, as they continue the formula established so far. Lying On Iron, however, really showcases Monti’s vocals. It’s a gorgeous (practically) acoustic ballad where she absolutely shines. The emotion shown in that song tell me the band has a great future if they can just evolve more in the songwriting department.
As I said with regards to The Vision, Psychedelic Witchcraft aren’t breaking any new ground, nor are they doing anything particularly creative. However, it’s all well-executed and Monti has a great voice for the material. If you’re a fan of this style and enjoyed the debut, then Magick Rites and Spells will suit your needs.
Label: Soulseller Records
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Release Date: 27 Jan 2017