The Swedish retro-doom-psych-folk band known as Witchcraft was started in 2000 by vocalist/guitarist Magnus Pelander, whose original intent was to record a single in tribute to Pentagram‘s Bobby Liebling and Roky Erickson — how often does that happen?
Calling on his friend John Hoyles (guitar) and brothers Ola (bass) and Jens Henriksson (drums) to lend a hand, Pelander did indeed record that single (entitled “No Angel or Demon”) and released it through small independent Primitive Arts Records in 2002. Then, encouraged by the results, he continued to compose material for Witchcraft while his bandmates pursued other interests.
A year would pass before they reconvened as Witchcraft, and with new drummer Jonas Arnesen in tow, the quartet began preparing their eponymous debut album for release through Rise Above the following year. Recorded in a basement studio outfitted exclusively with vintage equipment, the album captured a hauntingly authentic 1970s sound — steeped not only in the heavy-handed work of Black Sabbath and Pentagram, but also in the psych and folk-rock elements of obscure acts like Leaf Hound, Captain Beyond, and Comus. And yet, ironically, none of the members of Witchcraft were even born before 1977, making their loving reconstruction of that decade’s music — underground music at that — all the more remarkable.