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Jethro Sabbathagram - 80%

Skammdegisthunglyndi, January 30th, 2008

Dust off those flairs, polish your lava lamp and shove your Wolfmother up your arse because Witchcraft hath returned with another slice of Pentagram worshipping 70s nostalgia. Skirting the borders between stoner and doom The Alchemist channels the aural essence of decades past through a sonic time warp.

It's an analogue masterpiece that's oozing with old school flair, Witchcraft once again managing to bring the crisp grain of vinyl to the digital masses. Subtle distortion meets jangly clean strumming, supported by groove soaked workhorse drumming and lively bass that dances between root notes like a court jester. The re-recorded 'If Crimson Was Your Colour' (previously seeing release on a limited vinyl) even adds authentic Moog to the mix.

The tracks themselves are some of the bands strongest to date. Never afraid to flaunt their influences, 'Hey Doctor' invokes the very spirit of Sabbath, driven by crunching riffs, vintage solo and Ward style drum breakdowns. Magnus Pelander's voice has never sounded stronger either, accented by some subtle vocal harmonies. Album highlight 'Samaritan Burden' is a grooving cacophony of funked up drumming and proggy leads. It simmers and flows to an expectedly climactic end, only to ebb away into Jethro Tull style folksy noodlings. 'Remembered' is really the only "duff" track, that whilst not bad in its own right just doesn't fit the flow of the rest of the album. It opens with a 60s styles bouncy intro and closes with a King Crimson-esque saxophone solo. It has more of an air of "bonus track" to it, and serves as a slight interruption before the lengthy epic title track. The only other problem is the length as at just over 40 minutes you'll find yourself repeating the album to sate your appetite.

As it stands, anybody spurting the old "they don't make music like they used to" really has no excuse. This is 70s heaven.