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(Prog Rock) WITCHWOOD - Before The Winter album review

Release date November 20, 2020 (Jolly Rogers Records)

The Mighty Decibel's #9 ranked Hard'N'Heavy release of 2020!!!

Yes, it's 2020, but if you aren't interested in rock that is about 45 or 50 years old, skip to the next review, because Italy's Witchwood have released the perfect album for a 1972 prog rock audience.

This ten song, 63 minute English language effort is Witchwood's third full length, and it reminds me of the type of album that my oldest brother had in his record collection when I was a kid. I would have considered much of it a bit too mellow back then, but I've come to appreciate this type of music somewhat more as I have aged.

Witchwood is the brainchild of chief song writer Ricky Dal Pane, who handles guitars, lead vocals and mandolin. The best of the material, such as "Anthem for a Child", "A Taste of Winter" and "Feelin'" would have been considered the bangers on an early 70s prog album, and they are still good rocking numbers in the 21st century sense. With a good dose of Sam Tesori's flute, thoughts immediately go to Jethro Tull. But it is Uriah Heep that really stand out as a main influence (I assume).

Other stand out tracks include "No Reason to Cry", which refers to Ian Gillan era Deep Purple, and the bluesy "Crazy Little Lover", which would fit nicely on a Coverdale era Deep Purple album, or one of the early Whitesnake efforts.

A very different, but still interesting, track is "Nasrid" with its flamenco style acoustic guitar and haunting, lyric-less female vocals. It sounds like it was inspired by the late, great Ennio Morricone, and listening to it one can almost picture Clint Eastwood gunning down Lee Van Cleef.

There are a couple of tracks that are still a little too mellow for my tastes, but overall this is an interesting, well written album that grows on you with repeated listens.



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