Formerly under the name Stryker, Spell is a relatively new traditional heavy metal band hailing from Canada’s West Coast. Unlike many of their counterparts housed in Toronto, these guys take a bit of a different approach. Spell’s imagery is based in the occult, and the music suits this well. If you were looking for the speed-tinged squeaky-clean shredding of bands like Skull Fist, you’ve come to the wrong place. Instead, Spell provides a more rocking, mid-paced approach that is very rough around the edges. The songs are still very catchy (see the choruses of “Electric Witchery” and “Too Wild To Live (Too Young To Die)” for two great examples), but in a different way from what you’d expect.
Everything about “The Full Moon Sessions” screams underground. The guitar solos feel very improvised; they aren’t extremely technical and calculated, but they suit the energy of the music. Likewise, the production is by no means perfect, but this rawness enhances the band’s sound. All of the instruments are still completely audible, but it still feels like everybody is fighting for attention (in a good way). Vocalist Cam Mayhem has two sides to his singing: the first is a somewhat restrained mid-range that he employs for the majority of the time. The other thing he does frequently is let out some wicked screams. Sometimes he isn’t even screaming words (such as on “Never Enough/Sisters of the Moon”), but the sheer ridiculousness of the screams makes them work. A couple of the tracks also use overlayed vocals near the endings in an effective manner.
“The Full Moon Sessions” is pretty short, and it definitely leaves you wanting more. The songwriting is very impressive, as there really are no weak tracks. If I were to criticize the band a little bit, it seems like the vocals go off key very infrequently. For example, the end of the first half of “Never Enough/Sisters of the Moon” sees Cam Mayhem belting out “Never Enough” several times, and it feels like his vocals sort of waver without much confidence. Luckily, these incidents are few and far between, and are something unlikely to happen live as the band continues to improve.
With their debut record, Spell has put out something somewhat unique that should get a lot more attention. The only close comparison I can give would be to Cauldron, as they both have that occultish, doomy yet upbeat appeal to them. Nevertheless, if you like any form of traditional heavy metal, check out “The Full Moon Sessions” immediately!
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"Never Enough/Sisters Of The Moon"
"Too Wild To Live (Too Young To Die)"
4.25/5 or 85%.
Written by Scott