Magick & Mischief

Chalk up another winner from the Cruz del Sur Music record label.  Witch Hazel was a band from 2007-2020, but now a new band has been formed called SpellBook.  Hailing from Pennsylvania Spellbook play an earlier form of Heavy Metal mixed in with NWOBHM and some slight power metal elements.  Think: Blue Oyster Cult/early Maiden/Priest/Rainbow/Angelwitch and let me tell you this debut album Magick & Mischief is a personal favorite for 2020.

7 songs in 45 minutes so yeah the band likes writing some longer songs.  “Wands to the Sky” opens with a compelling guitar riff with the vocals a cross between early AC/DC and Priest.  The guitar riffing has such a 70’s groove to it and some acid-tripping lava lamp type of guitar solos and musical arrangements.  Plenty of melodies and a super catchy rhythm section.  The album also has some keyboards too.  “Black Shadow” comes in with more catchy riffing and more of a mid-paced hard rocking metal anthem.  We also get a little vintage Black Sabbath harmonica action which the harmonica solo is totally ripping, just like on the Sabbath debut album – love that.

“Motorcade” has a nice bass solo ditty, from Seibert Lowe Jr, ripping right into the power metally drum speed and the guitar riff, before the song gets into a nice stomp action moment and Nathanus breaking into some scorching vocals.  Hey don’t snooze on Nick Zinn’s cowbell action.  It’s killer.  The opening fast moment with the bass guitar comes back swiftly then back to that awesome groove and Andy Craven proves to be a guitar master.  More excellent isolated bass guitar action which is just brilliant and catchy.

“Dead Detectives” at over 11 minutes closes the album and wields a compelling story with the spoken word acting moments and slower moments.  Has kind of a shoe-gazey/old-town rat-pack homage to it, mixed in with some grindhouse elements.  So goddamned catchy with the bass guitar, spoken word type of vocals, inserted acting clips and piano action.  About half way through the song builds up to a an epic atmospheric crescendo and some excellent guitar soloing and some nice chorus elements.  “Dead Detectives” has all the elements of pure coolness all over it, as if you’re sitting at a smoky bar, sipping your whiskey while there is a spotlight shining on the pianist as there is an old-school type of act weaving a story in the backdrop.  One of the most original songs I have heard in a long time and terrific guitar solos to boot.

Spellbook’s Magick & Mischief is one of the best and most original heavy metal albums that seems like it was recorded in the 70’s and just received an updated remastering.  This is pure excellence with maybe the best album cover for 2020.  The logo has owl eyes, many subliminal features calling to mind, horror and vintage heavy metal.  Christ almighty this album is excellent.  Buy or Die!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
December 14th, 2020


  1. Commented by: Steve K

    Awesome review, Frank! This album is just pure fun start to finish. Great stuff.

  2. Commented by: J.Mays

    This is so damn good, Frank!

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