Brimstone Coven – “Black Magic” (Metal Blade Records)
Despite many calling Brimstone Coven an ‘occult’ band (perhaps understandably cos of their name to state the obvious!) I didn’t really get much of an evil vibe offa these guys – but what came across was an amazing 60s / 70s groove that few other bands seemed to have perfected. Sure, there are definitely elements of Pentagram in there, but then there’s also some Blue Cheer, Cactus, Cream and while we’re on it, Yes, if you wanna praise those three part vocal harmonies. There’s also a strong epic feel to the material too, from “Big John” Williams‘s soulful preacher vocals to the strummed bass of Andrew D’Cagna, that when added to the fuzzed guitar of founder Corey Roth definitely creates a powerful groove and moreover a deeply atmospheric trip, much like you’re also there with the band in their intimate studio (or coven) amid candles, cowbells, incense – and loads of weed heh heh! Most of all, what impressed me about “Black Magic” was its organic feel, with nothing sounding contrived or overdone so as to achieve a perfect balance, making the 10 tracks sound authentic and genuine while flowing naturally rather than deliberately engineered to sound retro. All in all it makes the album go well beyond a listenable experience to one like a journey thanks to the racy but funky ‘Black Unicorn’ or the slightly morose prog doom of ‘Upon The Mountain’ and not forgetting the epic warrior rock of ‘The Seers’. A highly respectable release indeed, forging yet another legend in the hills of West Virginia!