Much-loved Swedish doom-rockers Witchcraft are finally back after four years with their fifth album, Nucleus. While the single “The Outcast” has caused much excitement among fans, there are whispers that the main course might not be as enjoyable as the appetizer, with their attempts to recapture their original sound falling short.
That trademark ’70s sound is still ever-present on this latest offering, as are elements of folk and psychedelic rock, which are carefully intertwined in every track. So what’s there to moan about? Perhaps lengthy opener “Malstroem” doesn’t do the album much justice, especially for the lazy listener who wants everything all at once. Personally, I love the doom-y guitars, and Magnus Pelander‘s moody vocals make my hair stand on end and so, if you’re happy to sit through almost nine minutes of that, you’ll have no problem here. The second track, “Theory of Consequence,” is more on the lively side and entertains Wolfmother-esque trills and crunchy guitars, which continues on the aforementioned “The Outcast.” It’s obvious why the punchy single was so well-received, for it carries such a cool, rock-y vibe, not to mention a painfully impressive guitar solo. Maybe if there was more of this, and a little less of the 14-minutes-plus tracks which come shortly afterwards in the form of the title track and “Breakdown,” listeners might find the record more accessible.
That brings us to the root of the problem with Nucleus: There are too many plates spinning. There’s the standard, rocking two-to-four minute-long tracks, the doom-ridden opener and closer, two lengthy progg-y numbers, and helpings of Led Zeppelin scattered everywhere else. For those that are open-minded or are just content to have another Witchcraft record on the table, great. For those that are more difficult to please, Nucleus might just not make the cut.
Nucleus is out January 15 on Nuclear Blast. Pre-order it here!
SkullsNBones Rating (Out Of 5):