Wicked Minds - Witchflower

Year of Release: 2006
Label: Black Widow Records
Catalog Number: BWRCD 093-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 79:01:00

Imagine a hard rock monster deeply rooted in the magical seventies merging Deep Purple with Uriah Heep (Deep Heep or Purple Uriah), using authentic vintage instruments to keep the spirit as lively as possible yet recorded with the technical facilities of the 21st century. That's how one could describe the Italian five-piece Wicked Minds in a nutshell. The album opens with the kick-ass in your mouth prog 'n' roll of "Through My Love," which immediately highlights the glorious Hammond organ in a style that we have learned to love by the likes of Jon Lord and Ken Hensley. Add to this the voice of JC Cinel, which sounds exactly like that of the late David Byron, and you all know you're in for a real treat. I like it when the machine is switched off right at the end of the title track. As with their main examples, Wicked Minds not only harks back to the powerful rocking themes but also has a very melodic and romantic side. In that respect the lush melodies in "A Child And A Mirror" perfectly illustrate this, before a rougher edge incorporates the whole. We should also note some delicate guitar parts here.

With glorious Moog sounds which were the absolute trademark in the seventies "Before The Morning Light" kicks off in kind of a theatrical way before settling for a bluesy rock feel. Again some ace Hammond playing intertwined with typical Wakeman-era Moog settle in the middle section of the song. I like it! I like it a lot! I guarantee you will most definitely melt once flute introduces the acoustic "Burning Tree," which is when candles come in very handy together with some wonderful red wine and a box of Belgian chocolates (after all I'm Belgian, so why shouldn't I promote the local product?). The medieval feel of the song delivers the necessary breath of fresh air you need at this point in the recording. With the majority of the songs written by keyboard player Paolo Negri, needless to say the emphasis lies a lot on the Hammond. The rhythm for "Black Capricorn Fire" reminds me of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five," whilst flute and Fender Rhodes introduce some jazzy elements, and the guitar interacts with a bluesy feel. With the all acoustic guitar intermezzo "The Court Of The Satyr," the band illustrates the great diversity in composition and the skills which each of the musicians clearly has.

"Sad Woman" starts in a spacerock kind of way with synth sounds floating around on a bed of heavy guitar and Hammond sounds. The epic on this Witchflower album comes in the form of "Scorpio Odyssey," which contains lush flute playing on top of a slightly psychedelic backing. Towards the end the song swells and swells even adding a saxophone which turns the music towards Pink Floyd. The album closes with the Deep Purple cover "Soldier Of Fortune," which sees some of the instrumentation changed when compared to the original. It's still a decent version though.

The DVD is made up out of separate recordings. First of all there are some songs recorded live at the Tendenze Festival in Piacenza, Italy on 3rd September 2004. Then we have a couple of tracks recorded live at the famous Spirit of 66 Club in Verviers, Belgium dating from 20th February 2005. In both cases only one handheld camera was used, which of course doesn't result in pristine quality. What I miss are close ups of the keyboard solos, yet as a bonus DVD, I guess there's very little I can complain about. Next to video clips for "Through My Love" and "From The Purple Skies," the DVD section ends with six songs that were recorded as audio only during the band's promo recording session on 2nd September 2005. To end it all, the original 1993 studio version of "Through My Love" is included making a total of four versions of this song alone in this package. Let's say the DVD is indeed but a bonus, whilst the main plate on the Wicked Minds menu is the brand new Witchflower album which is by all means yet another victory and a rightful successor to the previous From The Purple Skies album. I'm a fan!

Bonus DVD (78:38) and extra audio (49:48)

CD: Through My Love / Witchflower / A Child And A Mirror / Here Comes The King / Before The Morning Light / Burning Tree / Shadows Train / Black Capricorn Fire / The Court Of The Satyr / Sad Woman / Scorpio Odyssey / Soldier Of Fortune

Bonus DVD: Through My Love (Videoclip) / From The Purple Skies / Return To Uranus / Rising Above / Queen Of Violet / The Elephant Stone / From The Purple Skies (Videoclip) / Drifting / Might Just Take Your Life / Across The Sunrise / Return To Uranus / Gypsy / Witchflower (Making Of) : Through My Love / Witchflower / A Child And A Mirror / Before The Morning Light / Sad Woman / Scorpio Odyssey / Through My Love

Lucio Calegari - electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals
Paolo 'Apollo' Negri - Hammond, ARP, Moog, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes, Solina
Enrico Garilli - bass
JC Cinel - vocals
Andrea Concarotti?- drums, percussion

Return From Uranus (1999/2006) From The Purple Skies (2004) Witchflower (2006)

Genre: Rock

Origin IT

Added: August 14th 2006
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.wickedminds.net
Hits: 1025
Language: english


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