crystal gazing

crystal gazing

Witchfynde - Crystal Gazing

3w ago
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Description

Track #2 from "Cloak & Dagger" album by NWOBHM legends Witchfynde, released in 1983, re-released in 2000. Tracklisting: 01 - The Devil's Playground. 02 - Crystal Gazing. 03 - I'd Rather Go Wild. 04 - Somewhere To Hide. 05 - Cloak And Dagger. 06 - Cry Wolf. 07 - Start Counting. 08 - Living For Memories. 09 - Rock And Roll. 10 - Stay Away. 11 - Fra Diabolo. The lineup was: Steve Bridges (vocals), Montalo (guitars), Andro Coulton (bass), Gra Scoresby (drums). Witchfynde was formed in 1973 when Gra Scoresby's band met Montalo playing guitar in his own band formed with his school friends. The two teamed up and formed Witchfynde, the name was suggested by Montalo because he was very interested in occultism and he wanted to use the band as a way to "fynde" like minded people. Fire. Demons. Chains. Screams. A monotone "welcome to the devil's playground" and a Halfordian high note is how holey-moley Witchfynde unveil their third release after two hushed years, their first with not only Expulsion Records (and the label's first adventure as well), but with oddball/goofball Luther Beltz spitting on the mike. It still amazes me how stuff like this can be recorded and the band doesn't sit back at the end of the day and say, 'wow, is this the best we can do?'. I mean, in '80 (which is when these tracks sound like they hit the studio), you may be able to get away with this without a lynching party forming nearby, and how drummer Scoresby stays awake and sober during 30 bpm tracks like "Start Counting", "Stay Away" and the Judas Priest-throwaway title track is pretty much a mini-miracle to me. Witchfynde, despite a near fresh start and supposedly renewed attitude, have really done nothing with their sound since their notorious birth. Now, original vocalist Steve Bridges wasn't a flaming pyre in the night among voxmen, and admittedly Beltz has more charisma, but only adds a tad of above-rudimentary flair to a sonic formula that his visual cloak and animal 'fro can't help as this thing spins around someone's bedroom. Yeah, he's got quite a bit of '70s Halford in him, even spinning himself a King Diamond web where certain high notes dwell, but it's a minor plus sign (+) that can be stretched only so far across these eleven tracks. I've come to realize that each Witchfynde album so far has two singles at the most that don't leave me battling acid reflux. Cloak & Dagger's are side two's inaugural punt "Cry Wolf", the album's only real headsnapper, and "I'd Rather Go Wild", a (semi) pertinently-titled tune that captures most of its infectiousness in its chorus. Not too horrible either is "Somewhere to Hide"; a bit too hum-drum to get any party started, but has an annoying tendency to stick in yer head at least for a short car ride. I find everything else here only lucky to be touched by some iota of catchiness if it's not just plain boring, though when the sun sets it can be said this track list is probably a smidge stronger than those of the group's previous flycatchers. Still more hard rock than anything, maybe even a bit bluesier this time 'round, which doesn't impress. No lyric sheet (that I'm aware of), and with "The Devil's Playground" and "Fra Diablo" (an emotively-performed, petite 'n tender instrumental) the only implication at anything devil-creeped (that they've been insinuating uselessly since days long gone), the great cover concept/art is once again that girl that flirts all the time but never delivers and you'd like to punch. Even though they reportedly spent zilch on this thing's promotion in the first place, Expulsion would flutter the checkered flags of bankruptcy soon afterward, the band ending up on Mausoleum (probably my first exploration of that label, an exploration that would forever cram a bad taste in my mouth despite anything good I've found by the company afterward) to put together one of my most loathed albums, a disc that will be spun for the first time in many, many years. I hope my fortitude hold...