Jolly Roger Records announces November 20th as the international release date for Witchwood‘s highly anticipated third album, Before the Winter. The album will be available on CD, double-vinyl with gatefold cover and one bonus track, and digital formats. Vinyl colors will be 100 copies on silver wax (exclusive JRR), 100 on mustard wax (exclusive Kozmik Artifactz), and 100 on yellow (exclusive Fu.zu.l. Records).
In 2014, from the ashes of the Buttered Bacon Biscuits, Witchwood were born. Buttered Bacon Biscuits released a self-produced CD in 2010, titled From the Solitary Woods (available on CD and LP from Jolly Roger in 2017), and positively reviewed by many Italian and foreign music magazines and websites. They played many gigs around Italy, also supporting important bands like Uriah Heep, Jethro Tull, and Bud Spencer Blues Explosion among others.
After the split, some members of the band – Ricky, Andy, Steve, and Sam – decided, with the entry of new member Luca Celotti on bass, to start Witchwood. All musicians have been active for decades, with past recording experience with local bands and collaborations with artists like Martin Grice (Delirium) and Nik Turner (Hawkwind). Their debut album as Witchwood, Litanies From the Woods, featured ten tracks in a well-balanced mix of hard rock, progressive, psych, and southern rock with an obscure and vintage ’70s attitude. Released in 2015, this debut album got a very excellent acceptance from public and press, both in and outside Italy, which allowed a strong promotional push – playing live at Hammer of Doom in Germany, Malta Doom Metal Fest in Malta, and as guest for The Vintage Caravan in Germany – and a deserved good visibility on all main specialized webzines and magazines. Both CD and LP first runs quickly sold out.
Rightly, Witchwood were considered one of the best bands from the new “retro-rock” wave. One year later, they came back with a new recording, Handful of Stars, featuring three unreleased songs and two covers – “Flaming Telepath” from Blue Öyster Cult and “Rainbow Demon” from Uriah Heep, as a kind of homage and tribute to these two great bands, so important for Witchwood‘s musical journey – and an unreleased version of the suite “Handful Of Stars” (from Litanies From the Woods) with a new breathless intro, for a total of 45 minutes of music.
“Handful of Stars represents a band’s hypothetical cycle, as it contains also music based on ideas developed during the recording sessions of Litanies From the Woods but left behind because that album was already almost 80 minutes length,” said Ricky Dal Pane. “There are three unreleased songs and a tribute to two of our favorite bands of all time – ‘Flaming Telepaths’ from Blue Öyster Cult and ‘Rainbow Demon’ from Uriah Heep. We also added an extended version of the song ‘Handful Of Stars.’ This is a very well-curated album, and it’s full of interesting material. It’s not just a filler between two full-length albums, as its length is 45 minutes. We are very happy about it, and we hope our fans won’t be disappointed.”
Handful of Stars was also the right way to celebrate the appreciation received for the debut album and to introduce the new guitar player Antonino Stella, noteworthy session man and Ricky’s longtime friend. During the last four years, Witchwood played live and collected all the energies and inspirations to release the new, best-possible album entitled Before the Winter. A long time, but worth the wait!
Tracklisting for Witchwood’s Before the Winter
1. Anthem For A Child
2. A Taste of Winter
4. A Crimson Moon
6. No Reason To Cry
8. Crazy Little Lover
9. Slow Colours Of Shade
10. Child Star [LP bonus track / Marc Bolan cover]
Riccardo “Ricky” Dal Pane – vocals, electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin
Andrea “Andy” Palli – drums
Stefano “Steve” Olivi – Hammond, piano, synth & Moog
Luca “Celo” Celotti – bass
Samuele “Sam” Tesori – flute & harmonica
Antonino “Woody” Stella – lead guitar