Album Review: Wytch Hazel – IV: Sacrament
Reviewed by Richard Oliver
Everyone mentions the ‘difficult third album’ but Wytch Hazel have definitely had the difficult fourth album. The Lancashire traditional metallers have endured a troubled recording for their fourth album 'IV: Sacrament' with drummer Jack Spencer having to step down in September 2022 meaning that frontman Colin Hendra took on drumming duties in addition to vocals, guitars and the songwriting. Add to that mysterious technical problems such as mysteriously blown amps and cabs and also trying to juggle a full time job and family life, it ensured that this was far from the easiest album to record but the results are definitely worth it as Wytch Hazel have another absolute doozy of an album.
The retro sound of Wytch Hazel also has retro aesthetics with the album being recorded in analogue at a studio in a converted Baptist church in rural Wales with vintage equipment. The album has that wonderful analogue warmth to it and a production and mix that sounds like the classic bands of the 1970’s
The album itself is another batch of hook filled retro metal and hard rock with elements of bands such as Thin Lizzy and Wishbone Ash meeting NWOBHM bands such as Angel Witch and Witchfynde as well as latter days bands such as Slough Feg and Hammers Of Misfortune. It is irresistible not to nod your head and hum along to songs such as ‘The Fire’s Control’, ‘Angel Of Light’, ‘Strong Heart’ and ‘A Thousand Years’ which are hook filled rockers full of that wondrous twin guitar. As well as big rockers the album’s second half has some more gentle and introspective songs such ‘Future Is Gold’ and ‘Digging Deeper’ which are gorgeous and luscious sounding and show an added maturity to the songwriting of Colin Hendra.
'IV: Sacrament' is another gorgeous album from Wytch Hazel which builds upon the foundations of the bands fantastic two previous albums 'II: Sojourn' and 'III: Pentecost' but with an extra confidence and maturity to the songwriting. Lyrically like on all previous Wytch Hazel, the band proudly display their song Christian beliefs with themes of Christianity prevalent throughout but it is not on the nose and an atheist like myself can easily enjoy this album as the music is just so damn good. A solid album of catchy bangers that take the best from classic rock and traditional metal and mix them together in epic style. Another resounding success from Wytch Hazel.