SpellBook – Deadly Charms (Cruz del Sur Music)Friday, 23rd September 2022
Incorporating a healthy mix of 70’s rock with the purity of metal at its essence, SpellBook from York, PA conjure up a sweet style for their second album Deadly Charms. The band soldier forward, the pandemic never stalling the creative momentum – or even changing out guitarists, as Les Yarde and Patrick ‘Patty’ Benton join the quintet through this nine-track offering. These musicians choose to explore a horror meets reality theme for many of the songs – from Pennsylvania witch trials to a witch doctor murder, beyond vampiric themes, demonic possession, and a personal ode to losing friends over heroin addiction.
A natural high register that contains the right Ozzy-like inflections during his 70’s Black Sabbath prime days for Nate Tyson certainly keeps ears riveted during the Mountain meets Pentagram-like “Pandemonium”, the guitars spinning bluesy hooks while bassist Seibert Lowe Jr. adds some tasty bottom-line licks. Clean measures provide additional epic context for the normal distortion-oriented proceedings, giving “Her Spectral Armies” that extra darker ambiance before the straightforward Judas Priest-like metal kicks in during the emotive instrumental sequences. These musicians perfect the art of grabbing the right low down musical hook, adding the proper vocal melody to elevate the mood, and just hammering home that old school style heaviness that induces massive body shaking – “Rehmeyer’s Hollow” and “The Witch of Ridley Creek” two classics, the former containing a bit of that “The Zoo”/Scorpions shuffle that devastates. The sound as well as production value tracked in Baltimore, MD with producer/engineer Kevin Bernsten maintains this organic warmth – cutting corners not in the SpellBook vernacular. Magical mysticism accents push closer “Out For Blood” to an ideal conclusion, the subtle keyboard use and dotted note spots taking The Police or Men At Work-like nuances into a mid-tempo hard rocking benchmark.
Already impressing this scribe in 2020 through Magick & Mischief, the expansion of the lineup to a dual-guitar attack opens up sonic possibilities for SpellBook that they achieve seamlessly for Deadly Charms. It’s exciting to anticipate what will come next from this talented team of musicians.