Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Wytch Hazel continue the remarkable journey on IV: Sacrament

Since the 2016 debut Prelude, Witch Hazel have been building a story through the follow-ups, II: Sojourn and III: Pentecost each time supplying multi-layered rock with inspirations such as the twin guitar bands like Priest, Lizzy and Wishbone Ash. The band, Colin Hendra (Drums, Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards) Alex Haslam (Guitars) and Andrew Shackleton (Bass) with help from Ed Turner on Mandolin & Mellotron have produced another fine mix of influences that always maintain uniqueness and validity that Wytch Hazel should be proud of.

Opening with Ash-y Yes-y proginess ‘The Fire’s Control’ shows they’ve lost none of the energy and creativity developed over the previous albums. ‘Angel of Light’ harks back to the halcyon days of NWOBHM in a subtle, melodic sort of heavier White Spirit way. 

Elsewhere ‘Deliver Us’ has a touch of Hensley about it but with the unerring mark of Wytchiness keeping it new. ‘Gold Light’ is a ninety-second almost mediaeval interlude that introduces the rather excellent ‘Endless Battle’… imagine Priest, Tull and Steeleye Span jamming! It just works.  

‘Future Is Gold’ is more mediaeval-tinged, acoustic folkiness but has a rare beauty that drags you in – without having to wear the tights and daft hat! Closer ‘Digging Deeper’ is a seven-minute, proggy epic of complexity that rewards a few listens as the layers unpeel. 

For me, this is the best yet from Colin and Wytch Hazel, producing variation and originality with nods to classy inspirations and influences. There is still a Christian concept colouring many of the songs, but it isn’t overt or preaching and therefore, more than acceptable to me and actually adds clarification to the whole.

A rewarding album of rock which may hint at years gone by but is bang up to date and well worth seeking out if you want something new and different but fits perfectly with your Ash, Tull, Lizzy, Priest or just rock collections.

IV: Sacrament is out on 2nd June 2023.

Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon
North East born, South West domiciled music lover - mainly heavy rock & blues but not averse to other genres. I'm fortunate to have retired early & I can now take full advantage of the 40+ years I have spent collecting, listening, watching & playing (badly) & have enjoyed researching how blues in particular has shaped the music we know & love today. Now if only I could get my Strat & Musicman to sound in reality how they do in my head!

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Since the 2016 debut Prelude, Witch Hazel have been building a story through the follow-ups, II: Sojourn and III: Pentecost each time supplying multi-layered rock with inspirations such as the twin guitar bands like Priest, Lizzy and Wishbone Ash. The band, Colin Hendra (Drums,...Wytch Hazel continue the remarkable journey on IV: Sacrament