Witchwood is an Italian band that was founded in 2014, out of the ashes of Buttered Bacon Biscuits, a formation that existed between 2008 and 2013. They presented a blend of psychedelia,
hardrock and prog, and released one album entitled From The Solitary Woods (in 2010). Three members of BBB founded the new band Witchwood that released 3 albums between 2015 and 2020. This review is about its debut album entitled Litanies From The Wood, from
I am a huge fan of debut albums, often the first album is loaded with pure power and high energy, it is the culmination of working out interesting ideas during the
years. Personal favorites are Queen, Journey, Uriah Heep, Led Zeppelin, Rush, and Marillion. If I compare this first album to Witchwood its third effort that I recently reviewed (my first musical encounter with Witchwood) I am indeed more excited about
this debut album. Because I hear all the elements that I like from strong debut albums, here is a band that sounds unleashed, with a musical formula that is in the vein of BBB, a blend of psychedelia, hardrock and prog.
The strong point in Witchwoods its compositions on this album is the shifting of the atmospheres, between mellow, heavy and bombastic, creating a lot of tension and dynamics. This is often embellished with Hammond,
fiery guitar and flute traverse, but also Grand piano, mandoline, mouth-organ and the Moog Voyager synthesizer. My highlights.
Prelude/Liar starts raw and heavy, like early Queen
(first two albums), then a surprising flute interlude, and finally a heavy explosion with fiery guitar and Hammond.
Rainbow Highway starts with Heavy Prog like Deep Purple and
Uriah Heep, then mellow with wonderful Grand piano runs, gradually the music becomes more lush. The atmosphere culminates in a long fiery and compelling guitar solo, including use of the wah-wah, wow!
The Golden King delivers a mellow psychedelic climate (evoking early Pink Floyd) featuring soaring churchy Hammond, fragile guitar and flute, hypnotizing percussion and slide guitar. All these instruments are tastefully arranged into
the music, topped with dreamy vocals, and halfway soft wah-wah guitar runs.
The epic Shade Of Grey is a dynamic composition, between folky (with twanging acoustic guitars, mandoline
and flute), hypnotizing (with Moog Voyager flights) and heavy explosions with sparkling flute and biting guitar leads. The mellow parts reminds me of early Genesis, and the acoustic side of Led Zeppelin.
The final epic track Handful Of Stars starts slow and bombastic with churchy Hammond floods and powerful vocals. Then an accellaration with swirling Hammond solo, rock guitar and a sparkling flute traverse solo (Ian Anderson-like).
And finally spacy work on the Moog Voyager in a compelling atmosphere with hypnotizing drum beats.
If you like Heavy Prog or varied melodic rock this album is one to discover.
© 2020 Erik Neuteboom