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The Death Spell - Album Review: The Death Spell

12 Dec 2023 // A review by River Tucker

There’s a real whisky drinking, bare knuckle fighting edge to the self-titled debut album by The Death Spell, kicking off with Nail You Higher Than Before. Obviously, song lyrics are in your face on this track, especially for any Christians in the audience, but you couldn’t ask for a better intro to the musical style of this Auckland-based band.

Doing everything right to get your attention, Leave You Lying On The Ground, with its long build-ups culminating in very catchy chorus lines, is another expertly crafted song on an eight-track album that is peppered with beguiling and highly likeable tunes.

Front man and guitarist Oz’s commanding chord progressions flow seamlessly into the next track and his slightly phased surf rock effect provides the earthier Funeral Pyre with a nice touch of uniqueness. It’s a distinct sound that is surprisingly well-suited to The Death Spell’s style of Rock ’n’ Roll.

Slamming it back into high gear and very suited to being performed live, Die Alone might provide a sombre message, but the high-energy track maintains its dynamism throughout to ensure there will be good audience participation.

Recording to tape creates a very live atmosphere, especially during the band's latest single, Witch's Coven. It’s a track that demands to be played loud, has tons of attitude and is guaranteed to make you rock out with some air guitar or drums.

Next up is Potter’s Fields Forever, which has a number of perfectly melding intros to pique your interest. Great timing changes leading into a rip-roaring guitar solo are the icing on the cake of a very grungy Black Sabbath sounding technique that absolutely slays.

It’s difficult to choose just one, but the more heartfelt and straightforward track I Am The Shadow is the standout. It traverses slowly into superb riffing that delivers all the harmonic depth you could ever want to hear in your grungy rock music. Slightly evocative of early Motorhead, once again The Death Spell conveys a realistic dark message in a spellbinding song that is full of intense and unrelenting energy.

The magic of The Death Spell’s debut resides in the bands ability to work perfectly together, a synergy that is often only found in a cohesive three-piece who’ve been playing together for a long time. It also doesn’t hurt that they’ve attained some fantastic graphics from Misanthropic-art to help launch their album into the universe.

It’s a stretch to find any downsides to this release, but new listeners may find the large amount of low-end rumble and tape saturation a bit overwhelming, which isn’t as noticeable on the final track Kill In The Darkness. There’s no doubt however that The Death Spell is staying true to the genres they’re drawing inspiration from.

It’s often the little things that really matter in music and The Death Spell has done an excellent job getting the details right and putting together an outstanding debut album, to be released 24 December, that should make its way into your music collection.


About The Death Spell

Formed in Auckland, New Zealand in 2021, The Death Spell blends the profound heaviness of 70's-era hard rock and heavy metal into the contemporary stoner rock scene, embracing the psychedelic soundscapes of the era.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Death Spell


The Death Spell
Year: 2023
Type: Album

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