SpellBook’s roots go back to 2007, when they were still playing under the name Witch Hazel. The fact that they have been using their current name since 2020 is a good thing, not least for the Epic Metal Blog, to avoid misunderstandings regarding a different band from England that is extremely popular here…
Deadly Charms is already the second studio album SpellBook present us with in the still young decade, after the solid debut Magick & Mischief. If you didn’t know any better, you would think you were dealing with a release from the late 1970s: Nate Tyson (vocals), Les Yarde (guitar), Patrick “Patty“ (guitar), Seibert Lowe Jr. (bass) and Nick Zinn (drums) play genuine proto-metal that takes us back to a purely analogue era.
The most prominent feature is Nate’s voice, which reminds me very much of Ozzy’s singing style. However, since he has a somewhat different voice colour, we are not facing one of the many clones of the Prince of Darkness. The little shot of madness that characterises Nate’s performance fits perfectly with the lyrics, which are all about fantasy, fiction and horror. The interesting vocal lines contribute to the fact that the songs remain in the ear after only a few listens.
However, it would be completely inappropriate to reduce SpellBook to their superb frontman: The soulful, catchy riffs are another highlight, accompanied by some fiery solos. I’d claim that the guys from Pennsylvania don’t have to hide from Phantom Spell in terms of guitar tone – and Kyle’s one-man project has delivered the perfect sound in this respect this year. If, like me, you dig 70s sounds, you’ve come to the right place.
The elaborate songwriting offers a lot of variety – and numerous hooks: Above all, the magnificent “Her Spectral Armies“ has what it takes, in my opinion, to appear at the top of many a best of list at the end of the year. The same goes for “Rehmeyer’s Hollow“ (those guitars!!!) and “Night of the Doppelganger“ – there are no failures at all, even if I still consider the closing track “Out for Blood“ a bit unspectacular, especially compared to the previous seven tracks.
Conclusion: SpellBook are an exciting band that present themselves on their social media profiles in such a likeable and refreshingly quirky way that one wishes them every possible success. Deadly Charms is aimed at an audience that appreciates an excellently crafted, fresh-sounding retro style that has a clearly identifiable individual touch and thus stands out from the crowd. Once again, Cruz del Sur have a gem on offer, for which there is an unconditional recommendation to buy.