Album Review – Witchcraft – Black Metal (Nuclear Blast)

Witchcraft’s first album in four years might confuse a bunch of people. First of all, it’s basically just a Magnus Pelander solo album. He is the only musician performing on it. Well, just him and and an acoustic guitar. Other people, might get upset because it’s called “Black Metal”, when clearly it’s not. It’s not really “metal” in the traditional sense. I’m sure fans expecting a doom album will also be in for a bit a letdown. There are no Sabbathian riffs to be found on this album.

But, fuck expectations, because Black Metal is one hell of an album. It’s a downbeat, dark folk album, that manages to capture the vibe of the band’s earlier work quite well. The production is sparse and lo fi, not as modern as recent Witchcraft albums. Plus, it’s just got this dark pall hanging over it, and Pelander sounds sincerely world weary and down. So, in a way it’s got the attitude right, even if it’s just Pelander and his acoustic guitar, spinning tales of woe. Can we call it “doom folk”, or this the proper term “dark folk” these days?

You hope more people will embrace this one, since “dark folk” has become all the rage among metal heads these days. You know what? Pelander pulls this off spectacularly. It’s one hell of a downbeat, dark album, perfect for any listener’s dark night of their soul. So, in a way, it is a doom album. Just not a traditional one. I mean, he sings of his own and other people’s doom, so the lyrics are on point.

So, Pelander has managed to make a “doom album” without actually making one in the traditional sense. Black Metal manages to capture the world weary, woeful, attitude and vibe of doom better than a ton of albums that crank up the Sabbath worship to ridiculous levels. It’s a work of darkness and despair and therefore it is another captivating chapter of this band’s discography.

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