As much as they’ve toughened up their 70’s influenced occult psychedelic rock sound with stoner rock riffs and early Sabbath-ian blood rituals the second full length from Italy’s Psychedelic Witchcraft feels even more celebratory and vibrant in it’s Trouble-meets-Jefferson Airplane fueled bluesy execution. ‘Sound of the Wind’ is just eccentric and rousing enough to escape the forced feeling of the post-‘The Eldritch Dark’ world of Blood Ceremony and The Oath imitations. In fact the occasionally Grace Slick-esque tone of Virginia Monti is a good alternative to the more rock-forward moments of recent, flat Blues Pills releases. ‘Sound of the Wind’ is a bit of a grower, skirting bold doom riffs in favor of bohemian classic rock, but sublime songwriting offers the potential to worm its way into the ear better than most throwback psych rock efforts in recent memory.
The lean away from the vocally dominated scantily-riffed sound of Psychedelic Witchcraft‘s debut ‘The Vision’ offers far greater interest for me as their 2016 full-length was too soft and far too repetitive even for it’s roughly 35 minute length. Though I’d say ‘Sound of the Wind’ dips and sways between stoner rock and some traditional doom guitar work the most notable bit of growth here is Monti‘s ability to let the instrumentals kick about and create a groove before she sings. It gives the entire record a confidence and allows for her exceptional vocals to leave a deeper impression upon the listener.
This newfound guitar rock goddess sound is likely influenced by Monti‘s time with Mark Greening (ex-Electric Wizard) in their project Dead Witches. Though that band is more or less ‘Dopethrone’-lite with a female vocalist, this ventures into stoner/doom territory most akin to Trouble‘s post 1990 stoner rock era where they pulled away from Jesus metal and towards inspiringly drug-addled ‘Sabotage’-isms. Compare Trouble’s “Excuse Me” vibe with “Turn Me On”, for example. Likewise the opener “Lords of the War” gives a stunning, but brief, nod to “War Pigs” as it concludes and fades into the Orchid-esque riffing of “Wild We Go” and throughout Psychedelic Witchcraft haven’t so much ‘gone doom metal’ as they’re pulling from the same 70’s rock variations for guitar interest. This is tempered a bit by the nearly note-for-note “White Rabbit”-alike title track where Monti seems most comfortably sultry and unrestrained by the psychedelia and slower pacing.
Some of this ‘hard rocking’ change is echoed in Riccardo Giuffrè and Jacopo Fallai‘s other band Magnet, though ‘Sound of the Wind’ thankfully avoids the somewhat generic Hellacopters-like blues rock of ‘Feel Your Fire’ by a wide margin. Though my taste in throwback psychedelic rock and occult rock/doom hybrids typically leans towards the dark/psych folk rock of Hexvessel or the deeper terror of Occultation, I found ‘Sound of the Wind’ a less demanding and joyous alternative to my usual pursuits with similarly interesting lyrical themes throughout. Whether they are musing upon psychic researchers, The Faces, Jefferson Airplaine, war, oppression or even just sex I find Psychedelic Witchcraft an inspired listen despite being notoriously bad at following lyrics when I’m listening to music. If you’re as apprehensive as I am about checking out occult rock records I’d recommend giving this one a chance as Monti‘s inspired vocal performances are complimented well by hard psych rock riffing that teeters on the edge of traditional doom/occult rock. Stand-outs to preview would have to include “Lords of The War”, “The Warrens” and “Wild We Go”.
|Released||February 27, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp!||Follow Psychedelic Witchcraft on Facebook|
Flower crown and kopis in hand. 3.5/5.0
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