REVIEW: Various Artists - "Witchcraft: A Gothic Compilation"

By Mike Ventarola

Chain Border

WitchcraftBefore anyone gets bent out of shape, I need to stress that on the inside cover of this disc is a dedication to the memory of Anton Szander LaVey, the originator of the Church of Satan. Now it must be stressed that witches have NOTHING to do with Satanism. The idea behind this disc was to capture the Hollywood flavor and propaganda which has equated witches with evil. This disc utilized the title and imagery not as a means of demonstrating political correctness but as a collection of creating a spooky factor, not unlike most of Hollywood's inaccurate depiction of craft work. That out of the way, we can continue to the music.

This Cleopatra compilation produced by Tony Lestat is a rare find. Cleopatra does in fact carry it, but you will have to hunt a bit for it.

Michael Aston's Gene Loves Jezebel - Necromancing the Cunning Linguist (VooDoo Mix)
Gene Loves Jezebel opens the disc with a somewhat mournful re-mix of this song with the tongue in cheek title, Necromancing the Cunning Linguist The original version is on their Love Lies Bleeding CD. (Reviewed in Legends #99. Michael Aston was interviewed in the same issue.)

Kommunity FK - 23rd Curse
23rd Curse is given a Hollywood sound effect with the opening dripping and the voice from the beyond coming from the cauldron. Needless to say, Kommunity FK kicks the overdrive for a very infectious industrial dance track. It is hard to believe this track was released in 1996 as it sounds just as fresh today as any other artist on the market.

The Shroud - Spiral Back
Spiral Back is an ethereal style song presented by The Shroud. The percussion on this song is rhythmic and almost tribal. The harmonies blend between the ethereal, percussion and grooving guitar layers make this a great dance cut for clubs.

Immortalis Amor - Invocation
Invocation literally opens with an incantation in Latin which segues into yet another infectious dance cut similar to This Ascension. To some extent, this is an actual invocation done to music that works really well.

Wreckage - Black Moon Magic
Black Moon Magic rushes headlong into hyper drive and takes no prisoners. Old school goth, bat cave gloom guitar which rocks you to the base of your spine and pins you up against the wall. This song is also a witches curse against ones tormentors.

Spiral Trance - Eternity
Eternity mellows the disc down a bit with some ambient/darkwave gloom guitar work and layered sounds beneath the notes.

Eleven Shadows - Broomsticks
Broomsticks initially sounds like a vortex opening before us to release power and magic. We are given a slice of some rather chilling sounds that would work well for a movie soundtrack where tension build up is needed.

Trance To the Sun - Mala At Ease
Mala At Ease laments of "what was once flesh is now ashes." Despite being a slow tempo song, it manages to musically create a nightmarish quality to escalate the spook factor.

Dichroic Mirror - Burning Time
Burning Time brings us traditional gothic guitar similar to Faith and The Muse. This band has always played some of the best chords around, however the vocalist has always left me rather perplexed, as her strength in carrying this sound never seems to quite make it.

Bela Morte - Neverland (v2.0)
Neverland is an entry from the perennial favorites Bella Morte, who have to be among the hardest working duo in the gothic show business world. This song maintains an electronic beat that reminds me of the early Euro-pop days of the 80's.

Stone 588 - L'envoi Morts
L'envoi Morts is a rather dark and brooding piece that chants like the witches in Endor. Operatic vocals soar above music to capture the essence of magic on the wind.

Eva O - The Devil (Scarlet Dream Mix)
The Devil plays with your head by tossing the sound back and forth between your ears then erupts into an electronic orgy where Eva plays the darkest character of her career most likely. It must be noted that Eva O has since become a Christian who does not give homage to Satanism.

Ex-Voto - Azrael
Azreal is another great tune by the fabulous band Ex-Voto. The only negative thing about this band is they do not have nearly enough music out for the many fans that have come to love their sound through all the compilations they have appeared on.

Overall, Witchcraft set out to utilize the fright factor as a selling point. This is entertainment and should be viewed as such. I mention this only because some over-imaginative baby goth may listen to this disc and think witches are evil and that the songs that call forth dark powers are based on actual spells and incantations. The last thing I would want to accomplish with this review is a news headline of some high school kid who decides to take some of the songs to heart and burn down half a neighborhood! This compilation makes a great addition for your Halloween tunes that you may pile up for that most festive time of year. In a sense, owning this disc allows you to enjoy that season with each playing. There is no denying the very dark and somewhat evil element woven into the tapestry of some of these songs. However as entertaining as this is, I must caution the highly impressionable and continue to repeat, this is ONLY ENTERTAINMENT!

Buy The Album
Buy Visions of the Apocalypse

Contact Information:
Post: Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave., Marina Del Rey, CA, 90292

Legends Online