Skip to main content

Pelander album review – Time

Witchcraft frontman travels further down the solo path with new Pelander album

Ortega 'Time' album cover

2016 is turning into a busy year for Witchcraft frontman Magnus Pelander. His Swedish doom time-travellers released their fifth album in January, and it’s followed by this full-length solo debut, confirming the man’s instinctive ear for beguiling, off-kilter melodies.

It’s already six years since he released his solo EP, A Sinner’s Child – a promising but tentative four-tracker tapping into another underground musical tradition from this assiduous record collector’s beloved 1970s: that of the loner-folk private pressing, wherein depressive singer-songwriters quietly contemplate looming darkness with minimal acoustic instrumentation and wounded vocals.

Much of that atmosphere remains on Time – especially throughout eccentric 10-minute psych jumble Precious Swan and the ghostly closing title track. But with elements of rustic Americana and guest musicians on flute, cello, violin, harmonica and backing vocals the LP sounds more like a tasteful team effort than a tortured soul coming down off bad acid. However, in the press release, Magnus admits he “can’t remember” who played violin and cello, so some of that mental fragility is evidently retained.

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.