Witchwood -
Litanies From The Woods

(CD 2015, 77:26, Jolly Roger Records JRR 064)

The tracks:
  1- Prelude / Liar(7:23)
  2- A Place For The Sun(7:11)
  3- Rainbow Highway(5:54)
  4- The Golden King(6:24)
  5- Shade Of Grey(11:04)
  6- The World Behind Your Eyes(5:43)
  7- Farewell To The Ocean Boulevard(15:27)
  8- Song Of Freedom(9:31)
  9- Handful Of Stars(10:09)

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I was introduced to this band by a friend of mine because he knew that I would like the powerful riffs and vintage style. And I did! Or rather, I still do! Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and to a lesser degree Jethro Tull come to mind, but the strong lead vocals often remind me of Robert Plant instead of Ian Gillan or David Byron.

Litanies From The Woods is Witchwood's first album. The band came into existence in 2014 out of a group called Buttered Bacon Biscuits that I haven't heard of, but they released an album in 2010, From The Solitary Woods, on Black Widow Records. Basically most members came from BBB with only a new bass player.

There is some nice variation on the disc, like the first proper song Liar that suddenly treats us to a jazzy interlude led by flute. Or the psychedelic and somewhat dreamy/trippy The Golden King with a mysterious undertone. Mostly, however, it's progressive hard rock of the kind many of us enjoy immensely. The World Behind Your Eyes brings typical Tull-like flute for the first time. A bit more like Led Zep is the 9 minute Song Of Freedom that starts bluesy with harmonica and initially has acoustic guitar. This then explodes in typical Deep Purple style (and even the singing here reminds me of Gillan). Cool roaring organ. The 10 minute Handful Of Stars brings soaring progressive hard rock that shows what Deep Purple would have sounded like if they had enlisted a flute player. Actually, the man on the flute takes over halfway through and leads us again into Tull-inspired realms. Even longer are the two very long tracks on the album, Shade Of Grey and the 15 minute Farewell To The Ocean Boulevard. I'm not going to describe those - just experience for yourself. All in all great stuff and no weak moments.

Although I do have the CD version, this kind of music should actually be enjoyed on vinyl, and so it's only just that it's also released as a double LP in a gatefold sleeve (Jolly Roger Records JRR 063). In two versions even; an ordinary black one and a limited numbered purple vinyl. Good luck finding the latter as it's limited to 100 copies only and sold out already...

**** Carsten Busch (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

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