Spellbook
Deadly Charms

The new Spellbook album is not as good as their debut. That could be the review. However, it’s not always so easy to explain. You see, there are still several excellent moments, but where the debut felt like a complete album experience, Deadly Charms feels like a collection of songs. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Bands have been doing it for decades Anyway, I’ll tell you why I feel that way throughout.

I do want to point out, however, that when I say a collection of songs, I mean a collection of good to even great songs. The first one to stand out for me is “Goddess,” which is track 3. It has a solid guitar lead to start and a gallop for the verse, but the first chorus, which is a catchy one, comes at you very quickly. The guitar in general stands out here, but throughout. The bridge has only the bass and drums carrying it, with some brief guitar soloing on top, highlighting the excellent production.

The next track, “Pandemonium,” is another standout, which starts with some prevalent bass before giving into a groove featuring some cowbell (the last time I checked, we don’t have a lot of songs that feature the cowbell). The chorus has a very simple hook, but damn if that gallop isn’t energizing and infectious. I could mention the excellent lead guitar sections again, and I will.

A bit later in the track list is “Deadly Charms,” which has a more restrained, deeper register vocal approach in the beginning. I can’t help but laugh sometimes during the chorus of “Deadly… ooooh, charms,” despite the fact it’s catchy. That’s the thing, though. Perhaps that’s what is so, ummm, charming about this album. You’ve certainly heard the style countless times before, but there’s a playfulness in these tunes that shines through.

You can even say the same thing for what could be called the heaviest track, “Night of the Doppelganger.” Keep in mind “heaviest” is all relative. It has the feel of early metal bands such as the incomparable Black Sabbath. There’s a story here and this is the first time where I could really understand Ozzy comparisons in Nathanus’ vocals. This track, however, takes a turn about 3 minutes in where it sounds like an entirely different tune, but it goes into a crawling doom riff reminding me of “Black Sabbath” the song, not the band… but also the band because they wrote the song. You get it. Shut up. It’s the longest track on the album and has quite the guitar section and of course more of that cowbell, which they knew they were gonna want on the track!

As mentioned in the intro, this album seems to lack a certain Magick that was prevalent on the debut. That’s okay, though because if anything, that should tell you how incredible it is, not how bad Deadly Charms is… because it’s not. It’s still quite good and one of the better retro rock/metal albums I’ve heard this year, it just doesn’t quite have that staying power for me. With that being said, I still think you’d be a fool not to check it out.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
October 25th, 2022

Comments

  1. Commented by: F.Rini

    Nicely written James. I was really hoping for a strong follow-up to the outstanding debut, I reviewed a while back. But this album was a bit of a letdown for me.


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