BLACK STAR RIDERS release “When The Night Comes In” lyric video

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Nuclear Blast are pleased to announce the release of Black Star Riders third studio album, “Heavy Fire”, in February 2017. The band will support the album with a full UK and Eire tour in March 2017. New single When The Night Comes In lyric video available here:

The band’s previous album, The Killer Instinct, was released in 2015 to widespread critical acclaim and went on to score multiple radio playlists. A solid year of worldwide touring culminated in December 2015 in an UK arena tour alongside Def Leppard and Whitesnake.

2016 saw the band return to the studio with “The Killer Instinct’s” producer Nick Raskulinecz (Rush, The Foo Fighters, Mastodon), at his studio just outside Nashville. The resultant album is Black Star Riders most accomplished work to date. From the immediate riffs of album opener “Heavy Fire” to the instant hooks of first single “When The Night Comes In”, from the dirty bass groove of “Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed” to the familiar and trademark dual guitars of Gorham and Johnson on “Testify Or Say Goodbye”, this is an album that will further cement BSR’s reputation as one of the world premiere rock acts.

“Angst, passion, power, glory, love, truth, lies, loyalty, questions that begged to be answered. There’s a guitar army coming…and it’s bringing the ” Heavy Fire””Ricky Warwick (vocals), Black Star Riders.

“”Not many new bands get to record three albums these days. Without doubt this is BSR’S best album so far. We had a great time recording it and can’t wait to play the new songs live on tour in March.” Scott Gorham(guitars), Black Star Riders

Following on from their critically acclaimed albums ‘All Hell Breaks Loose’ and ‘The Killer Instinct’ which have paved the way for Black Star Riders to be recognized as a power force in the modern day of Rock n’ Roll, ‘Heavy Fire’ will be once again released by Nuclear Blast Entertainment.  The band have also brought in Pledgemusic, one of the most innovative and successful platforms of the modern music world, to give fans extra special product and experiences to go along with the album’s release.

Formats: Limited Edition Digibook CD (inc bonus track), CD, Vinyl, Vinyl Pic Disc, Digital Album
Mail order: Limited Orange & Clear Vinyl
Tracklistings below:

CD
1. Heavy Fire
2. When The Night Comes In
3. Dancing With The Wrong Girl
4. Who Rides The Tiger
5. Cold War Love
6. Testify Or Say Goodbye
7. Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed
8. True Blue Kid
9. Ticket To Rise
10. Letting Go Of Me

The Limited Edition Digibook CD will have above Tracklisting plus
Bonus Track
11. Fade

Limited Edition Gatefold Vinyl
Limited Edition Picture Disc
Side One
1. Heavy Fire
2. When The Night Comes In
3. Dancing With The Wrong Girl
4. Who Rides The Tiger
5. Cold War Love
 Side Two
1. Testify Or Say Goodbye
2. Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed
3. True Blue Kid
4. Ticket To Rise
5. Letting Go Of Me

Pre Order the album here:
Limited Edition Orange and clear vinyl – http://www.nuclearblaststore.co.uk/shop/nuclearblast/products.php?cat=4206

Limited Edition Digibook CD, CD, Vinyl & Vinyl Pic Disc @ Amazon:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dpopular&field-keywords=black+star+riders+-+heavy+fire

Digital Album @ iTunes – pre-order now and get the track ‘When The Night Comes In’ instantly:
http://nblast.de/BSRHeavyFireIT

After a full year off the road, Black Star Riders  (Ricky Warwick, Scott Gorham, Damon Johnson, Robert Crane and Jimmy DeGrasso) are back with a 16 date UK & Ireland run, joined on the first five dates by Scottish rockers Gun and The Amorettes and then Sweden’s own Backyard Babies with Gun on the remaining 11 shows.

Dates for Black Star Riders 2017 UK & Ireland Tour are:

W/ Gun and The Amorettes (below)
Thursday 2nd March                                                   Tramshed, Cardiff
Friday 3rd March                                                          William Aston Hall, Wrexham
Saturday 4th March                                                    Academy, Dublin
Sunday 5th March                                                       Limelight, Belfast
Tuesday 7th March                                                     Ironworks, Inverness
W/ Backyard Babies and Gun (below)
Wednesday 8th March                                              O2 ABC, Glasgow (Co-Headline Show with Gun)*
Thursday 9th March                                                    O2 ABC, Glasgow (Co-Headline Show with Gun)*
Friday 10th March                                                       O2 Academy, Newcastle*
Saturday 11th March                                                  O2 Academy, Leeds*
Sunday 12th March                                                     O2 Ritz, Manchester*
Tuesday 14th March                                                   Rock City, Nottingham
Wednesday 15th March                                            UEA, Norwich
Thursday 16th March                                                 O2 Academy Bristol*
Friday 17th March                                                       O2 Kentish Town Forum, London*
Saturday 18th March                                                  O2 Institute, Birmingham*
Sunday 19th March                                                     O2 Academy, Bournemouth*

Tickets are onsale now. For Ticket Info please visit www.blackstarriders.com
* Tickets from ticketweb.co.uk

“Heavy Fire” is released through Nuclear Blast on the 3rd February 2017.

(Featured Image Photo Credit – Robert John)

 

Anthrax ANNOUNCE 2017 UK HEADLINE TOUR! – Band to celebrate 30th anniversary of the classic album ‘AMONG THE LIVING’ performed in its entirety!

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Legendary New York thrashers ANTHRAX this year celebrated their 35th anniversary and released their new album ‘For All Kings’ to widespread critical acclaim. In February 2017 the band will be back on UK soil for their first full UK headline tour in over a decade! These UK dates will see the band perform classic 1987 album ‘Among The Living’ in its entirety alongside fan favourites.
Scott Ian commented:
“Finally! We’ve been looking forward to headlining in the U.K. for so long!!! We have a killer set planned, new stuff, old faves, deep tracks and Among front to back. You’d better start getting in shape now for the epic wardance!
See you soon my friends.
Cheers,
Scott”

These special shows will mark 30 years of the iconic album, with support from up and coming British metallers The Raven Age.

Dates as follows:
Thursday 9th February – Birmingham O2 Institute
Friday 10th February – London O2 Forum Kentish Town
Saturday 11th February – Bristol O2 Academy
Monday 13th February – Nottingham Rock City
Tuesday 14th February – Manchester Academy
Wednesday 15th February – Glasgow Barrowlands
Thursday 16th February – Newcastle Northumbria University
Friday 17th February – Norwich UEA

Tickets go on sale this Friday 18th November at 10am.
Tickets will be available from myticket.co.uk/artists/anthrax

anthrax-cover

Anthrax has sold in excess of 10-million units, received multiple Gold and Platinum certifications, six Grammy nominations and a host of other accolades from the media, industry and fans. In 1991, their music helped break down race and genre barriers when they collaborated with Public Enemy on “Bring The Noise.”  And, of course, along with Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth, Anthrax helped pioneer the thrash/metal genre as a member of The Big Four.

More on ‘For All Kings’
‘Blood Eagle Wings’ Official Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuLvfm5yDlw
‘Monster At The End’ Official Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcseSPDpslg 
‘Evil Twin’ Lyric Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPmLkF3e6Fc
‘Breathing Lightning’ Official Track: https://youtu.be/NXYKpKWHxaI

www.anthrax.com
www.facebook.com/anthrax
www.nuclearblast.de/anthrax

OPETH DEBUT “THE WILDE FLOWERS”

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Sweden’s musical alchemists, OPETH, have premiered a new song entitled, “The Wilde Flowers”. The track is featured on the bands highly anticipated 12th studio album, Sorceress, which is scheduled for release on September 30th via the band’s imprint label Moderbolaget Records with Nuclear Blast Entertainment.

Stream “The Wilde Flowers” now at www.opeth.com

Speaking with Metal Hammer, vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt says “This was the first song I wrote for this album. It’s kind of an OPETH standard, in a way, like from the last two albums. It’s very dynamic. It has a chorus, I guess. Then there’s a big Queen-sounding bit in the middle just before this massive solo… oh, and harps! They’re hidden in the mix but they’re there. The title comes from the band Caravan – they were originally called Wilde Flowers. I always liked those weird spellings.”

In addition to the psychedelic, progressive masterpiece “The Wilde Flowers,” OPETH’s monumental new record also features the critically heralded new songs “Will O The Wisp” and “Sorceress.” Fans who pre-order the album will receive an instant download of “The Wilde Flowers,” “Will O The Wisp” and “Sorceress.” Links to pre-orders can be found below:

Nuclear Blast Store: http://nblast.de/OpethSorceressNB
Recordstore (inc signed insert): http://nblast.de/OpethSorceressRS
iTunes: http://nblast.de/OpethSorceressIT
Apple Music: http://nblast.de/OpethSorceressAM
Google Play: http://nblast.de/OpethSorceressGP

Catch up on the previous episodes here:
Mikael leads you through the Rockfield Studios
Mikael speaks about the guitar recordings
Axe speaks about the drum recordings
Martin speaks about the bass recordings
Mikael speaks about the songwriting
Fredrik speaks about the guitar recordings
Mikael talks about the lyrical concept
Joakim Svalberg talks about the keyboard recordings

OPETH will return to the UK for a headline show at Wembley Arena on Saturday 19th November.  Tickets are on sale now from www.livenation.co.uk.

Full tour dates as follows:
05.11.  S         Stockholm – Annexet
06.11.  N         Oslo – Konserthus
07.11.  DK       Copenhagen – DR Koncerthuset, Koncertsalen
08.11.  D         Hamburg – Docks
10.11.  A          Vienna – Arena
11.11.  D         Stuttgart – LKA Longhorn
12.11.  D         Munich – Theaterfabrik
13.11.  CH       Zurich – Volkshaus
14.11.  I           Milan – Alcatraz
16.11.  D         Cologne – E-Werk
17.11.  B          Brussels – AB
18.11.  NL        Tilburg – 013
19.11.  UK       London – SSE Arena Wembley
21.11.  F          Paris – Le Trianon
23.11.  LUX      Luxemburg – Den Atelier
24.11.  D         Berlin – Astra Kulturhaus

OPETH North American Tour:
24.09.  USA      San Bernardino, CA – Ozzfest
29.09.  USA     Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE
30.09.  USA     Silver Spring, MD – The Fillmore
01.10.  USA     New York, NY – Radio City Music Hall
02.10.  USA     Boston, MA – House Of Blues
04.10.  CDN     Montreal, QC – Metropolis
05.10.  CDN     Toronto, ON – Massey Hall
07.10.  USA     Detroit, MI – The Fillmore
08.10.  USA     Akron, OH – Good Year Theater @ East End
09.10.  USA     Chicago, IL – Riviera Theater
10.10.  USA     Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
12.10.  USA     Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom
13.10.  USA     Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
14.10.  USA     Austin, TX – Emo‘s
15.10.  USA     Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey Live!
18.10.  USA     Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl
19.10.  USA     Tempe, AZ – The Marquee
21.10.  USA     Sacramento, CA – Ace Of Spades
22.10.  USA     San Francisco, CA – The Warfield
24.10.  USA     Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
25.10.  USA     Seattle, WA – The Moore
26.10.  CDN     Vancouver, BC – Orpheum

MORE INFO:

Sorceress cover

IN FLAMES PREMIERE ‘THE END’ MUSIC VIDEO

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Swedish metal visionaries IN FLAMES premiere the music video for their first single ‘The End’. Directed byPatric Ullaeus, the video is infused with pure adrenaline, stepping inside a first-person shooter game and bringing the viewer front and centre of exhilarating action and suspense.

Premiering last month via Decibel Magazine, ‘The End‘ is the first offering from IN FLAMES’ 12th studio album,Battles, out November 11th via Nuclear Blast.

Download the new singles ‘The Truth’ and ‘The End’ here.

The band will embark on a UK-wide tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD and DISTURBED in January:
JANUARY 2017
Tuesday 10th – GLASGOW, HYDRO
Thursday 12th – NEWCASTLE, METRO RADIO ARENA
Friday 13th – BIRMINGHAM, GENTING
Sunday 15th – SHEFFIELD, ARENA
Monday 16th – MANCHESTER, ARENA
Wednesday 18th – NOTTINGHAM, MOTORPOINT ARENA
Thursday 19th – CARDIFF, MOTORPOINT ARENA
Saturday 21st – LONDON, 02 ARENA
Sunday 22nd – LONDON, 02 ARENA

Tickets here!

More on ‘Battles‘:
Listen to ‘The Truth’: https://youtu.be/FkHJ2JY1rzI
Listen to ‘The End’: https://youtu.be/yafxUluB6DA
If you want to know more about the title choice and the artwork, check out the band’s first webisode:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8xmDX1eLOs
The second webisode where they talk about the double-single:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLnZMbZagak
Watch the third webisode where the band talk about their work with renowned producer Howard Benson:https://youtu.be/WYRR0SU2K9s
In Flames present new drummer, Joe Rickard: https://youtu.be/UxglQezGoX0

IN FLAMES are:
Anders Fridén | vocals
Björn Gelotte | guitars
Peter Iwers | bass
Niclas Engelin | guitars
Joe Rickard | drums

More info:
http://www.inflames.com
https://www.facebook.com/inflames
https://twitter.com/InFlames_SWE
https://www.instagram.com/inflames

MESHUGGAH POST SECOND TRAILER FOR THE VIOLENT SLEEP OF REASON

Meshuggah Album Cover

The Swedish extreme tech-metal pioneers MESHUGGAH will release their upcoming eighth album, The Violent Sleep Of Reason on October 7th via Nuclear Blast. Today, the band release the second trailer in which Tomas discusses the lyrical inspiration of the eighth album.

Order your copy of the album on iTunes and receive “Born In Dissonance” as an instant grat:http://nblast.de/MeshuggahiTunes

Tomas Haake comments about the album, “Basically, the whole idea of why we chose the title is it kinda connects with the lyrical content of the album. Which is to a fair degree about current events and what you see is going on as far as terrorism today, extremist views on ideals, and religious dogma and the violent implications that you get from being asleep so to speak and not acting/reacting to what is going on in the proper way”

The album was produced by the band and was engineered by Tue Madsen of Puk Studios in Kaerby,Denmark. For the cover, the band once again enlisted Keerych Luminokaya who created the artwork forKoloss and The Ophidian Trek as well as the new images for each of the 7 albums and 3 EP’s featured in the25 Years of Musical Deviance box set.

Track listing as follows:
1. Clockworks
2. Born in Dissonance
3. MonstroCity
4. By the Ton
5. Violent Sleep of Reason
6. Ivory Tower
7. Stifled
8. Nostrum
9. Our Rage Won’t Die
10. Into Decay

“The Violent Sleep Of Reason” will be available in the following formats:
Nuclear Blast UK Store:
– Mail-Order Exclusive Box Set*
Limited to 1,000 worldwide
Includes: Latex face mask, (2) stickers, (2) 1.25” buttons, poster flag, certificate of
authenticity
– Limited Edition Double Gatefold Gold Vinyl
– Limited Edition Double Gatefold Silver Vinyl
– Limited Edition Double Gatefold Light Blue/Orange Bi-Coloured Vinyl
Available here:  http://nblast.de/MeshuggahNBUK

Recordstore.co.uk:
– Limited Edition Black Double LP
– Limited Edition Double Gatefold Picture Disc
– CD Digipack
Available here: http://nblast.de/MeshuggahRS

Visit MESHUGGAH online at  www.MESHUGGAH.net
Like:  www.facebook.com/MESHUGGAH
Follow:  Twitter.com/MESHUGGAH
Watch:  www.youtube.com/MESHUGGAH

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS UK
Web:  nuclearblast.de
Facebook:  facebook.com/nuclearblasteurope 
Twitter:  @nuclearblasteu
Instagram:  @nuclearblasteurope
YouTube:  youtube.com/user/NuclearBlastEurope

OPETH RELEASE 2ND STUDIO BLOG FOR ‘SORCERESS’; NEW ALBUM OUT SEP 30TH

Swedish experimental heavy-rock pioneers OPETH have released the second instalment, “Studio Report – Episode 2,” of their in-depth, behind the scenes series on the making of their 12th studio album, ‘Sorceress’. The highly-anticipated record is due out on September 30th via the band’s imprint label Moderbolaget Records with Nuclear Blast Entertainment.

Opeth recently released a lyric video for the record’s title track “Sorceress“, which has has already received mass critical praise from fans and critics alike.

Additionally, OPETH, with their label, have launched a variety of pre-orders for physical copies of  ‘Sorceress”. The record will be available in an array of formats and editions including Standard Jewel CD, 2CD Digipak, 2LP Vinyl (in various colors at 180 gram) and a Deluxe Edition Wooden Box Set.

Pre-order ‘Sorceress’:
Nuclear Blast Store: http://nblast.de/OpethSorceressNB
Recordstore.co.uk: http://nblast.de/OpethSorceressRS

Pre-order ‘Sorceress’ Digitally:
iTunes: http://nblast.de/OpethSorceressIT

OPETH will return to the UK for a headline show at Wembley Arena on Saturday 19th November.  Tickets are on sale now from www.livenation.co.uk.

Full tour dates as follows:
05.11.  S         Stockholm – Annexet
06.11.  N         Oslo – Konserthus
07.11.  DK       Copenhagen – DR Koncerthuset, Koncertsalen
08.11.  D         Hamburg – Docks
10.11.  A          Vienna – Arena
11.11.  D         Stuttgart – LKA Longhorn
12.11.  D         Munich – Theaterfabrik
13.11.  CH       Zurich – Volkshaus
14.11.  I           Milan – Alcatraz
16.11.  D         Cologne – E-Werk
17.11.  B          Brussels – AB
18.11.  NL        Tilburg – 013
19.11.  UK       London – SSE Arena Wembley
21.11.  F          Paris – Le Trianon
23.11.  LUX      Luxemburg – Den Atelier
24.11.  D         Berlin – Astra Kulturhaus

Or catch the band on the following festivals, before they embark on a US headline tour together with THE SWORD:

30.07.  FIN       Oulu – Qstock Festival
05.08.  P          Corroios – Vagos Open Air Festival
19.08.  B          Hasselt – Pukkelpop Festival
24.09.  USA      San Bernardino, CA – Ozzfest

w/ THE SWORD
29.09.  USA     Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE
30.09.  USA     Silver Spring, MD – The Fillmore
01.10.  USA     New York, NY – Radio City Music Hall
02.10.  USA     Boston, MA – House Of Blues
04.10.  CDN     Montreal, QC – Metropolis
05.10.  CDN     Toronto, ON – Massey Hall
07.10.  USA     Detroit, MI – The Fillmore
08.10.  USA     Akron, OH – Good Year Theater @ East End
09.10.  USA     Chicago, IL – Riviera Theater
10.10.  USA     Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
12.10.  USA     Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom
13.10.  USA     Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
14.10.  USA     Austin, TX – Emo‘s
15.10.  USA     Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey Live!
18.10.  USA     Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl
19.10.  USA     Tempe, AZ – The Marquee
21.10.  USA     Sacramento, CA – Ace Of Spades
22.10.  USA     San Francisco, CA – The Warfield
24.10.  USA     Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
25.10.  USA     Seattle, WA – The Moore
26.10.  CDN     Vancouver, BC – Orpheum

Opeth release lyric video for title track to ‘Sorceress’ – article by Progradar

This is the official title track from Swedish progressive legends OPETH’s twelfth studio album, SORCERESS, out September 30, 2016 via Moderbolaget Records / Nuclear Blast Entertainment.

2016 marks the monumental return of one of heavy rock’s most unique, revered and fearless bands of the last three decades, Opeth. Over the years, the experimental, prog veterans have continuously reinvented themselves, pushing the boundaries of their craft and expectations of fans and critics alike.

OPETH’s new album, ‘Sorceress’, their first for Nuclear Blast via the band’s imprint label Moderbolaget Records, is proof chief architect Mikael Åkerfeldt has a near-endless well of greatness inside. From the album’s opener Persephone to The Wilde Flowers and Strange Brew to the album’s counterpart title tracks Sorceress and Sorceress II, OPETH’s twelfth full-length is an unparalleled adventure, where visions cleverly and secretly change, colors mute as if weathered by time, and sounds challenge profoundly.

Sorceress cover

Sorceress Track List:
1. Persephone
2. Sorceress
3. The Wilde Flowers
4. Will O The Wisp
5. Chrysalis
6. Sorceress 2
7. The Seventh Sojourn
8. Strange Brew
9. A Fleeting Glance
10. Era
11. Persephone (Slight Return)

”The new album “Sorceress” is our 12th studio album since our beginnings in 1990,” says Åkerfeldt. “I find it difficult to understand that we’ve been going on for 26 years, let alone that we’ve made 12 records now, all of which I am very proud of. ”Sorceress” is no exception. I love this album, as does the whole band. I wrote the music during 5-6 months and we spent only 12 days recording it at Rockfield studios in Wales. I find that once again we’ve taken a step forward. Or sideways, Or backwards. Somewhere!? It’s different! It’s extremely diverse. And if I may say so myself, extremely good.

I feel the right to say that since I like to think I know this band better than anyone on the planet. Also, I always manage to detach myself from the record and listen as a fan. It’s a fine little record. My favorite in our discography right now. Of course. That’s how it should be, right? It’s both fresh and old, both progressive and rehashed. Heavy and calm. Just the way we like it. Hopefully there’ll be others around the globe sharing this opinion. It was a joy to make it. A fucking joy to record it, and a sheer joy listening to it. So there you have it!”

For Sorceress, OPETH returned to Rockfield Studios in Wales, also home to pivotal releases from Queen, Rush and Judas Priest, where the Swedes had tracked Pale Communion in 2014 with Tom Dalgety. The band spent 12 days recording at the countryside venue among its serene and inspiring surroundings. The result is nothing short of a powerful and intriguing record that will add yet another layer to the band’s celebrated career.

ORDER ALBUM AT
Nuclear Blast (Worldwide): http://nuclearblast.com/opeth-sorceress
OPETH Store (US): http://www.jsrdirect.com/bands/opeth
OPETH Store (Euro): http://store.moderbolagetrecords.com
iTunes: http://nblast.de/OpethSorceressIT
Amazon Music: http://nblast.de/OpethSorceressAMZMP3
Google Play: http://nblast.de/OpethSorceressGP

Opeth band

Review – Witchcraft – Nucleus – by Shawn Dudley

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“Meditation is a very slow and painful process.  It is indeed the practice of death yet a celebration of life.”Ronald P. Vincent, 1947

This quote is printed on the inside gatefold of “Nucleus” and is, essentially, the mission statement singer/guitarist/songwriter Magnus Pelander follows for the fifth Witchcraft album. It’s a heavy, hypnotic, trippy musical journey brimming with atmosphere and worship of the almighty guitar riff.

Pelander originally formed Witchcraft solely for the purpose of recording a Pentagram cover for a Bobby Leibling tribute album. That single track immediately caught the attention of Lee Dorian (Cathedral, Napalm Death) who signed them to his label Rise Above and whisked them off to record their debut full-length album.

That eponymous release, recorded in analog in a basement studio using only vintage gear was a glorious concoction. Sounding more like a long-lost album from 1972 than a current album from 2004 it captured my imagination immediately.

It sounded authentic; the songwriting having just the right flavor for that musical era and unlike many retro groups that pick a single point of influence it was obvious that Pelander had a wide and varied appreciation for music from the late 60s and early 70s.

They would record two more fine albums using the same analog template; “Firewood” from 2005 and the very proggy “The Alchemist” from 2007; both highly recommended. Then the band went dormant for 5 years, reappearing with “Legend” in 2012 with only Pelander and bassist Ola Henriksson remaining from the earlier lineup.

Witchcraft

“Legend” was a departure from their prior albums as the vintage approach was dropped in favor of a very modern, punchy sound. In addition Magnus decided to put down the guitar to concentrate solely on vocals and hired a dual-guitar tandem. It was a very good album, but personally seemed to be lacking some of the atmosphere of the earlier Witchcraft releases and Magnus’ guitar playing was sorely missed.

Thankfully he decided to pick up the guitar again and has reconfigured Witchcraft as a power trio for the first time in their career with new members T. Anger (bass) and Rage Widerberg (drums) holding down the rhythm section chairs. (Anger and Rage, that can’t be a coincidence)

The opening track Malstroem begins with a cool little arrangement fake-out; a lovely acoustic guitar and flute introduction leads to a driving little staccato riff that gives the impression the song is going to increase in speed and intensity but, when the expected massive riff comes, the tempo drops in half. It’s a great little moment that feels like the floor just vanished below your feet and you have a split second to contemplate that prior to plummeting downward into the abyss.

The title of this track is apt, it’s a roiling concoction; Pelander’s grinding guitar (which would get Tony Iommi’s seal of approval I’m sure) intermingles with sci-fi tinged pipe organ and acoustic guitar stabs propelled by the lumbering brontosaurus groove of the rhythm section.

Pelander uses the simplicity of the arrangement to his advantage, the dirge-like gate providing the perfect foundation for his impassioned vocals. I sampled a lot of retro bands from Sweden during the late ‘00s and Witchcraft really stood out primarily because of his voice. You can hear echoes of Roky Erickson, Jim Morrison, Marc Bolan and the aforementioned Bobby Leibling in addition to the expected Ozzy references. “Nucleus” is his finest performance to date.

The punchy Theory Of Consequence is the shortest track here, clocking in at just under 3 minutes it’s a fun little rocker in the Uriah Heep mode. The advance single The Outcast is more reminiscent of the earlier Witchcraft albums, the first half of the song an uptempo flute-driven rocker and then settling into more of a Zeppelin-meets-Wishbone Ash laidback jam for the second half. These two songs add some variety in tempo to the proceedings, which for the most part is slow and deliberate.

Witchcraft2

My favorite track on the album is the bluesy Helpless, it has attitude to spare with Magnus building the intensity to full jet engine roar by the conclusion. The guitar solo on this song is killer, I just love the Gibson + Orange Amplifier sound.

The remainder of “Nucleus” consists of a balance of shorter mid-tempo doomy rockers like the excellent An Exorcism of Doubts (very much a Black Sabbath homage) and the extended progressive excursions of the title track and album-closer Breakdown.

These longer pieces will probably either delight or infuriate depending on the listener. There are certain musical styles that seem to reach their full potential through repetition; funk grooves get funkier the longer you ride them, psychedelia needs space to weave its spell and doom riffs seem to get heavier the longer you play them.

Pelander approaches these tracks like meditative mantras, allowing them to stretch and build slowly, combined they equal 30 minutes of the running time.

The title track is the most “prog” song on the album and the addition of cello and female backing vocals really enhance the atmosphere. The arrangement ebbs and flows going from the quiet and pastoral to the aggressive and edgy, it’s an enticing journey. The only real problem is it just goes on a little too long, a slow 30-second fadeout around the 10-minute mark would have worked in its favor.

Breakdown is the better of the two epics and is a great way to close out the album (although the addition of a bonus track tacked on the end kind of negates that a little bit). The song is a dirge constructed in two contrasting segments. The opening half is built on a single clean-toned guitar pattern that repeats and is reminiscent of the more recent albums from the Portland-based band Earth. The second half is pure menace, malevolent and crushing with the Magnus sounding particularly unhinged with his most extroverted vocal performance of the album. It’s an intense journey.

As a whole “Nucleus” is the most experimental and searching album Witchcraft has done to date.  It’s quite the left turn from the rather straightforward approach of “Legend” and personally I applaud the decision to defy expectations. It’s an intense, ballsy record and one that I recommend to adventurous listeners…and worshippers of “the riff”.

Inhale deeply.

Released 15th January 2016

Buy ‘Nucleus’ directly from Nuclear Blast Records