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Witchwood - Before the Winter CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.71 | 33 ratings

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3 stars Witchwood is an Italian band that was founded in 2014, out of the ashes of Buttered Bacon Biscuits, a formation that existed between 2008 and 2013. They presented a blend of psychedelia, hardrock and prog, and released one album entitled From The Solitary Woods (in 2010), on the known Italian Black Widow Records label. Three members of BBB joined the new band Witchwood, and in 2014 Witchwood released its debut album Litanies From The Woods. That was like BBB a blend of psychedelia, hardrock and prog, but more with an own touch. And more vintage, inspired by Uriah Heep, Jethro Tull, Deep Purple, Hawkwind and Lynyrd Skynyrd. In 2016 the band released its second album entitled Handful Of Stars, and in 2020 #3 entitled Before The Winter. I am not familiar with the work of Witchwood, this is my first musical encounter with the band.

Witchwood often strongly evokes Uriah Heep (even the excellent singer sounds like the second coming of John Lawton), especially in the first 3 tracks: fiery guitar and sparkling flute traverse in Anthem For A Child and A Taste Of Winter, and wah-wah guitar (trademark Mick Box), a flashy pitchbend driven Minimoog solo, delicate Fender piano, flute and distorted bass in Feelin'. More melodic rock with prog tendencies in Hesperus (halfway a sensitive electric guitar solo and then a swirling Hammond solo), No Reason To Cry (embellished with bombastic Hammond, swinging electric piano and a blistering guitar solo) and Crazy Little Lover (featuring bluesy mouth-organ).

But Witchwood also has a mellow side, in the beautiful ballad A Crimson Moon (pleasant variety with sitar, twanging acoustic guitar and flute) and the dreamy Nasrid (acoustic ? and classical guitar, flute and opera-like female vocals).

The epic composition Slow Colours Of Shade is the most varied and dynamic track. It starts mellow with melancholical vocals and rhythm-guitar, then a slow rhythm featuring emotionals vocals. Halfway a break with strong work on keyboards, guitar and flute traverse and finally a long part with a compelling Heavy Prog climate, a bit ominous, my highlight is a spectacular Minimoog solo.

The LP version of this album contains a bonustrack entitled Child Star, it begins atmospheric and then gradually turns into Heavy Prog with sparkling flute traverse and a moving guitar solo.

If you are up to melodic rock with prog tendencies (like Uriah Heep), this is a fine and varied album.

My rating: 3,5 star.

TenYearsAfter | 3/5 |


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