posted on 12/2011 By:
Without question, the retro album of the year belongs to Sweden's Graveyard, whose Hisingen Blues remains unfortunately under the radar amidst 2011's bumper crop of metal. But all those in the know seem to have fallen head over heels for the second effort from this Witchcraft-related project. Those folks are already familiar with Noctum through the band's debut, The Seance. Now they've released this limited pressing vinyl EP of two originals and a cover of the almighty Pentagram's "Lazy Lady." Now, when a band covers a song and sounds exactly like themselves, they've either made the song their own, or they're paying tribute to the architects of their sound. No surprise here that Noctum is entirely at home covering Liebling and company, as they -- along with Witchcraft, Graveyard, Burning Saviours and the like -- are ALL directly birthed from Pentagram's distinctive brand of early doom and hazy rock. And like their peers, Noctum does a more-than-serviceable job carrying forward the classic Pentagram sound.
Although what you get on The Fiddler is more of what you'd expect from Noctum, at the same time it doesn't quite have the heft of the majority of The Seance. In its place is some flat-out filthy swagger. Both "The Serpent Bride" and the title track revel in infectious, 70s, blues-soaked stomp, driven by the warm, Iommi lead tones and a score of tempo-changing riffs. "The Serpent Bride," in particular, has a smoking trail of late twists. David Indelof’s vocals don't always thoroughly convince, but generally work, and the call and response and "Killers"-like screams on the title track are definite high points. The Fiddler doesn’t keep pace with Graveyard, but in truth, it doesn’t need to. If you're still hung over from Hisingen Blues, The Fiddler will definitely hit the spot.
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