Second full length release for these Italians and I admit that I’ve actually been looking forward to be released. With their 2015 debut album “Litanies From The Woods” WITCHWOOD made themselves a considerable name, in the newer 70’s oriented Hard Rock scene and set our expectations really high. Their newest album “Handful of Stars” was released on the 31st of October via the Italian label Jolly Roger records. After a nice listening session, it’s really a pleasure to present you a rather early review of the album.
Well, the 70’s revival ( a term I like to use so I can describe the newer bands that are influenced by the 70’s Hard Rock scene) has been on for some years now, with many bands trying to capture the feeling of the 70’s, within their music. Some bands have failed and others have made it in a really exceptional way. Thankfully, WITCHWOOD, belong to the second bunch of bands.
“The band loves the 70’s and they do sound like a 70’s band.”
The new album features seven tracks of total running time forty-five minutes, featuring two great cover tracks and a re-recorded version of “Handful Of Stars” (originally featured on WITCHWOOD’s debut LP) . The first cover song, is a great version of BLUE OYSTER CULT’s “Flaming Telepaths” (originally released on their 1974 masterpiece “Secret Treaties” ). WITCHWOOD, treated the song with respect to the original recording, but somehow they enriched their version with their own signature sound. The second cover is the classic epic “Rainbow Demon” by URIAH HEEP, found on their 1972 classic LP “Demons And Wizards” which I consider as one of the best cover songs I have ever listened to.
Cover songs are good indeed, but let’s focus on WITCHWOOD material. As I mentioned above, the band loves the 70’s and they do sound like a 70’s band. Hard rock tempo, flute, keyboards, great use of backing melodic vocals, tight rhythm section with audible bass guitar, classic hard rock riffing, psychedelic bridges, melodic guitar leads and of course a great use of wah pedal,s are the ingredients of a descent hard rock album. Adding to the previous mentioned features their very good songwriting with various tempo changes, bridges, folklore passages and awesome keyboard breaks , as well as the great vocal lines that move from dynamic hard rock vocals to more mellow and full of lyricism ones , then you have an awesome hard rock album.
Bottom line is that I loved the album and if you like bands like URIAH HEEP, BLUE OYSTER CULT, NICK SIMPER’S WARHORSE, or even bands like HEXVESSEL, BURNING SAVIOURS, or early WITCHCRAFT, “Handful of Stars”, is the album that you have to listen. You won’t be disappointed.