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Swedish doom metallers Witchcraft emerged at the dawn of the 21st century with a vintage blend of lurid psych-folk and bruising hard rock that evoked the early, occult-themed emissions of groups like Pentagram and Black Sabbath. Debuting eponymously in 2004, the band's retro '70s sound adopted more modern recording techniques in the 2010s, with albums like Legend (2012), Nucleus (2016), and Black Metal (2020) introducing elements of stoner metal and depressive folk to the table. Witchcraft was founded in 2000 by vocalist/guitarist and sole constant member Magnus Pelander, whose original intent was to record a single in tribute to Pentagram's Bobby Liebling and Roky Erickson. Calling on his friend John Hoyles (guitar) and brothers Ola (bass) and Jens Henriksson (drums) to lend a hand, Pelander did indeed record that single (titled "No Angel or Demon") and released it through small independent Primitive Arts Records in 2002. Encouraged by the results, he continued to compose material for Witchcraft while his bandmates pursued other interests. A year would pass before they reconvened as Witchcraft, and with new drummer Jonas Arnesen in tow, the quartet began preparing their eponymous debut album for release through Rise Above the following year. Recorded in a basement studio outfitted exclusively with vintage equipment, the album captured a hauntingly authentic '70s sound -- steeped not only in the heavy-handed work of Black Sabbath and Pentagram, but also in the psych and folk-rock elements of obscure acts like Leaf Hound, Captain Beyond, and Comus. Firewood followed in 2005, featuring a cover of Pentagram's "When the Screams Come," and in 2007 the band issued their third studio long-player, The Alchemist. Witchcraft made the move to Nuclear Blast for their fourth outing, Legend, which introduced more modern-sounding production, along with new members Simon Solomon (guitar), Tom Jondelius (guitar), and Oscar Johansson (drums). 2016's Nucleus, their second LP for Nuclear Blast, took a more muscular stoner metal approach to the genre, while 2020's curiously titled Black Metal saw Pelander and company dabbling in brooding, depressive folk.
© Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo
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