Graveyard: Lights Out

Retro heroes make a scene with album three

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As if to confirm the crisis of ideas in the 21st century, ‘retro rock’ has emerged as a bona fide hip scene, with labels snapping up wannabe hippies whose narrow musical and aesthetic influences date back to a time when their grandparents were still shagging in Morris Minors.

As ever, a few bands transcend the generic baggage as simply great entertainers – in this case, most notably, it’s Witchcraft and Graveyard. Both share roots in Swedish band Norrsken, who were doing this sort of thing in the mid-90s to little acclaim or interest, so it was heartening when 2011’s Hisingen Blues catapulted this likeable foursome to wider attention; their conviction is beyond question, as is their skill at making well-worn, 40-year-old chops seem fresh.

Like Witchcraft’s Legend, Lights Out is rather more versatile and sophisticated than its predecessors, and less obsessive in its retrogression – although touchstones are still Zeppelin, Free and the Stones, Slow Motion Countdown could be Muse and Hard Time Lovin’ channels Nick Cave.

The driving, jangling hard rock adds up to 35 foot-tapping minutes that are solid, professional and effortlessly listenable but unspectacular and slightly par for the course at this stage.

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.