There’s no talking about Blind Golem’s first full-length album without mentioning Uriah Heep. The Italians initially began as a Heep tribute band and desired to write their own music in a similar Seventies Rock style, going so far as to give the artwork that Demons and Wizards aesthetic and even getting Ken Hensley himself to record keyboards and slide guitar just months before his tragic passing. A Dream Of Fantasy (MaRaCash Records) makes for an inevitably derivative listen with that established, but it is also an undeniably infectious labor of love.
Consisting entirely of musicians from the eccentric Demon Bitch with equally esoteric pseudonyms, Detroit’s White Magician settles firmly into the world of heavy Occult Rock on their first full-length album. “The Agents Of Fortune”-esque cover art is enough to indicate that any comparisons to Blue Öyster Cult are likely intentional; the band exercises a similarly freerolling attitude with an ominous undercurrent. But while Dealers Of Divinity (Cruz Del Sur Music) gambles on a well-trod formula, the group seems to have a couple of aces up their sleeves.
After nearly two decades spent exclusively on the live circuit, Blue Oyster Cult returns with their fifteenth full-length album, The Symbol Remains (Frontiers Records Srl). In a way similar to the recent releases by fellow Seventies Rock legend Alice Cooper, the band opts for a kitchen sink songwriting method. The fourteen tracks play out like a career retrospective of sorts, exploring a variety of moods between classic-minded rockers, synth-heavy AOR numbers, and atmospheric occult excursions.
After releasing two albums and an EP under the Witch Hazel moniker, the York, Pennsylvania quartet has rebranded as SpellBook. Their first album under this new moniker, Magic & Mischief (Cruz Del Sur Music), doesn’t deviate too far from their established Occult Rock style. There are a multitude of Seventies Rock grooves fitted with a slight Doom crunch that is quick to recall their contemporaries in groups like Lucifer, Demon Eye, and Icarus Witch.
It’s oddly satisfying when an album’s title is also an accurate descriptor for the music it contains. This is more or less the case with Old Blood’s second full-length album, Acid Doom (DHU Records/Metal Assault Records). While the group’s style may not be crushing in the traditional sense, their brand of Heavy Psych has a dark sultriness that should sit well with fans of groups like Uncle Acid and Blood Ceremony. And considering the four-year gap since their self-titled debut, it’s fair to say that things have only gotten more off-the-wall in that time.
Having successfully reinvented themselves as a power trio on 2018’s What Was And What Shall Be, Brimstone Coven, doubles down on the template with The Woes Of A Mortal Earth (Ripple Music). The style remains rooted in Seventies-flavored Occult Rock with the songs largely being driven by simple guitar/bass grooves and wafting vocal harmonies. The atmosphere and drawn-out pacing further reinforce a trancelike mood that is relaxing, yet esoteric. Continue reading
Kingnomad’s Prog Rock tendencies have been at the forefront from their inception, but these elements are expressed in their purest form on Sagan Om Rymden (Ripple Music). The group has about completely phased out the Stoner Doom tinges that helped shape their first two albums, allowing their third to expand their dynamics without a single hint of fuzz to be found. While this does make a less heavy album on the surface, a combination of energy and commitment to atmosphere results in what is easily the band’s boldest effort yet. Continue reading
Butterfly’s full-length debut isn’t the least bit shy about its Seventies Rock inspirations. That is made immediately apparent with the cover art contrasting Vikings and a mystical title with an innocuous band name, but the music plays out like a grab-bag of Montrose, Uriah Heep, and Budgie among others. Its free-spirited attitude is comparable to their contemporaries in Freeways and one can occasionally detect hints of otherworldly haziness in line with Tanith and Brimstone Coven.Continue reading
It would seem that this is Scandinavian ‘Drenched Riffs’ Week, but to pigeonhole Swedish quartet The Riven as mere seventies Rock does them no justice whatsoever. Their bass-heavy groove machine is positively electric and eponymous debut album The Riven (The Sign Records) drips The Blues while shooting fire from both hips.Continue reading
Oft breathed by those in the know in the same exhalations as Dream Theater, Leprous and Devin Townsend, London’s Haken frequently pass below the radar of those outside of Prog spheres. New album Vector (InsideOut Music) is, however, the fifth in the band’s ten-year existence and shows a level of accomplishment to surpass those more notable names.Continue reading