Witchcraft live in Haugesund, Norway 2012, photo special

After a five year break,  Witchcraft(from Sweden) have released Legend, their fourth studio album and first for Nuclear Blast. Before their production style and sound was compared to the sound that made American bands like Blue Cheer so recognizable (“loudest band in the world” 60s) The new record sound much more up to date, it sounds great.

Thursday night they played in Haugesund (at Jimmy Legs), it was my first show seeing Witchcraft. What a great band! They mix modern hard rock with Sabbath-style doom metal and Roky Erickson psychedelia (and a bit grunge ala Soundgarden), the singer/band leader Magnus Pelander is fantastic. At times he seems to not know what to do with his hands, and I understand that this is his first album not playing the guitar.

When asked by About.com if it was strange not playing guitar he said:
“No, it is more of a relief not to have a guitar strap around your neck.”

Highlights at the concert for me:

Democracy and Ghost House from the album Legend

The line-up has changed a lot lately and the band is now:

Magnus Pelander
Ola Henriksson
Simon Solomon
Tom Jondelius
Oscar Johansson

When asked about influences they’ve listed the following bands:

Metallica, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Black Sabbath, Slayer, Bad Religion, Primus, Pentagram and Roky Erickson.

To me it also sounded as Tool maybe an influence, also in the way Pelander is echoing Maynard James Keenan’s movements on stage.

The tour in Norway and Sweden this fall is just a warm-up for a more extencive tour in Europe and USA.

From allmusic.com:

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 Lieblingand Roky Erickson — how often does that happen?

We did everything in our own pace and we had that new spark in the rehearsal studio. It was a lot less stressful for me. I think it is a delight to play with these musicians because they are the best ones I’ve played with. Ola Henriksson talking about the recording of Legend (to About.Com)

It was a great night out in Haugesund, and the concert was one of those shows that you’re glad you saw. Catching Witchcraft on such a small venue will not be easy when the word about the new album starts to spread.

Great album, great band, great night out.

And finally Haugesund has gotten a decent club scene!

– Hallgeir (all photos taken by me, on a small compact camera)