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The Alchemist

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Album Review

Black Sabbath is rightfully considered a trailblazer of the doom metal genre. But the next group in line to carry the doom torch was Pentagram, a U.S. band well versed in their Ozzy and Iommi-isms. While Pentagram never scaled the heights that the Sabs did, they certainly left their mark on countless subsequent bands throughout the world — especially Sweden's Witchcraft. On their third release overall, 2007's The Alchemist, the quartet continues attempting to turn the clock back to 1975 — Magnus Pelander's vocal delivery is an awful lot like Pentagram's Bobby Liebling, while the music would provide a fine soundtrack to a high school stoner's basement party — when the folks were out of town, the bong smoke was thick, and the black light posters were proudly on display. However, as with most doom metallists, quite a few bits have a certain familiarity to them — case in point, "If Crimson Was Your Colour," which contains a riff reminiscent of Megadeth's "Symphony of Destruction," while "Hey Doctor" contains the same drum breakdown in the middle of Sabbath's Vol. 4 obscurity "Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes." But the group also shows they aren't afraid of laying down a Wolfmother-esque groove from time to time, as evidenced by the opening of "Samaritan Burden." Doom metal continues to thrive in the early 21st century, as evidenced by the emergence of Witchcraft.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

The Swedish retro-doom-psych-folk band known as Witchcraft was started in 2000 by vocalist/guitarist Magnus Pelander, whose original intent was to record a single in tribute to Pentagram's Bobby Liebling and Roky Erickson -- how often does that happen? 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....
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The Alchemist, Witchcraft
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