WYTCH HAZEL – A PRELUDE TO WHAT?
I was listening to Wytch Hazel at lunch one day. I was really sick and I wrote something along the lines of “real decent guitar sound, okay music.” The next day I picked up where I left off and I had gotten a good rest in. I was absolutely blown away. Convinced of my mistake I listened to the first half again and after could not stop thinking about it. I immediately ordered the vinyl, which took almost a full month to get here because the “street date” or something bogus. Totally worth the wait.
My excitement rubbed off on Junkhead and he encouraged me to play it to him over the phone when I got it. I am slightly upset I did not splurge on the white vinyl.
|Yeah, I was skeptical at first. Wytch Hazel sounds like a foofy folky name, but thankfully they’re only like that for two tracks on the album. Otherwise, it closely resembles the NWOBHM, which is my favorite genre of anything ever.
|You could not get over the name of the album. “Prelude to what?”
It’s an awful name. There’s a track called “Prelude” on the album and everything, but that’s not even a prelude to anything. Every other song on the album has a better title.
I complained about it for over fifteen minutes.
|I think we can assume it is a prelude to the next track.
Why would I assume that? You’re going to name an album after a track that’s sole function is to segue into a good song?
Not only that, “Prelude” is the worst song on the album.
|It is a really long prelude. The theme probably repeats ten times.
|A lot of metal bands make that mistake when they come up with some instrumental. Even if their normal songs are relatively complex, the vocal-less tracks wind up being super dumb.
|Also, it feels like it’s going to go into a killer doom metal song, but it stays mellow. I bet when the play it live they just shorten it to 2 minutes instead of 4:17
They probably stretch it out to 41:70.
Or 42:10, whatever.
“We only have 46 minutes of material, and all of our songs bleed into each other, so we’re going to play prelude for 45 minutes to fit the bill.”
On that note, I do like “Psalm.” The guitar work is really pleasing to me.
Yeah, let’s get off the negative. While I’m not too fond of the two folky tracks, they definitely break up the rockers in a way that I can appreciate.
It’s hard to make a great album that’s always cranked up and kickin’ ass, so it’s good Wytch Hazel slowed it down. “Dark Ages” is the other one and I really dig the chorus on that one.
“We live in the Dark Ages” times ten is my kind of chorus.
|Would you say it’s something every metalhead can agree on?
|The chorus or the folky bits breaking up the action?
|The chorus. I can’t imagine many agreeing on the break up.
I mean, there’s doom-and-gloom in most extreme music. Metal fans are more into that then singing about hugging your grandma or romance or something.
Like, if you want to hear somebody complaining about chicks or something, listen to pop music.
|It is important to consider the premise of this band when discussing their music. NWOBHM from 600 years ago.
|NWOBHM lyrics did complain about chicks a lot, but it’s more because it’s a covertly poppy genre. There’s a lot of melody infused in it.
|The bands eponymous track title is the best track on the album. I think it is about trying to succeed on your own then turning back to a higher authority’s wisdom.
|I think it’s about having the tastiest melodies on the album. The guitars and vocals trade off perfectly, and the Thin Lizzy-ish guitar breakdown at the 2:30 mark is phenomenal.
|It is the catchiest melody.
But yeah, there’s a heavy Christian vibe running through the album really.
There’s also a lot of battles and a lot of pronouns. “I” and “He” are all over the place, so I can see the whole relationship with God thing spread all over.
I feel like I Christian lyrics do not scare away as many listeners as we might think. Music listeners can be open minded and most people do not let lyrics deter them from an album, but these lyrics are really strong and visionary. I can not think of any corny lines, which I usually associate with Christian lyrics.
Also, the lyrics tell an overarching epic. The music hints at this with the second track, “Fight,” and the last track, “We will be strong,” both start off with a snare drum march and lead into a power metal type ballad.
|I mean, it’s corny in a metal way. There’s still a lot of battles and stone towers laying about, but the Christian thing doesn’t come across as ham-fisted as on a Stryper album or something.
“Oh no! The skies around are falling,
Oh no! The seas begin to roll
Oh no! Take me from the picture
Oh no! Before it takes my soul”
I don’t really consider either a power ballad, they just rock the fuck out. Most of the album does that.
It rips starting from the opener which sets most of the tone: 600-year-old NWOBHM.
|Rock out is a better term. Not like it’s symphonic or anything. The instrumentation is as bare as my forehead.
Yeah, I’m glad they don’t throw in fiddles or something. I figured they would eventually but they didn’t.
They don’t lose sight of the slick tuneful hard rock sound.
I wonder if that’s how the MC’s introduce them. “NWOBHM from 600 years ago without gimmicky folk instruments.”
“If you like the Grateful Dead…”
Did you just fall off the your chair laughing?
“…and Diamond Head, you’ll love Wytch Hazel”
I wonder if they’ll go further down the Jethro Tull route and start making album long songs and stuff. For some reason I think Wytch Hazel could pull it off.
|“Truth,” an earlier recording is pretty good, but the development is clear, Wytch Hazel has a crystallized concept.
|Yeah, they’re definitely the kind of band that’s not going to stick around and just repeat themselves over and over, which I think’s a good thing. “More Than Conquerors” and “Fight” and everything are all awesome, but I doubt they’d be good if the band re-wrote them over and over.
|“Fight” is an older song, one of two songs rerecorded for this album. I hope they don’t turn out like Shonen Knife playing Twist Barbie on every album; replace Twist Barbie with the track “Wytch Hazel.”
|Yeah, it’s interesting that Wytch Hazel leaves you thinking more about where they’re going than where they’re at now. Maybe it’s just a….PRELELUDDDEE of things to come?
“Wytch Hazel’s earth shattering 2017 release, featuring a monumental cover, ‘Twist Barbie.'”
I’d buy it.
|Even if this album had a cover of “Twist Barbie”, it’d still be in my current top five for the year.