For the past four weeks I have been listening to the entire SPELL discography practically on repeat. I keep getting drawn back into this album for its raw power. SPELL is instantly a classic while uniquely their own sound.
Favorite track: Conquer the Skies.
“To us, music is magic” reasons Cam Mesmer of Spell. “It has the ability to alter people's perception and change reality, to make people move, to influence emotional states and carry people away from the rational and into the strange and mysterious”.
This Vancouver-based power trio have thus far wasted little time proving themselves new masters of the metaphysical. Their first record for Bad Omen ‘For None And All’ sent shockwaves across the metal underground with its mystical and malevolent brand of metallic witchcraft, in which seventies-styled atmosphere and eighties-damaged drama undertook a dark marriage with satisfyingly timeless results. Yet this was the second chapter in this band’s life proper, and the first - the band’s debut and their rawest, hungriest statement of intent - has gone unreleased in its intended form. Until now, that is.
Comprising ten wild and electrifying ditties informed equally by savage finesse and gung-ho intensity, ‘Full Moon Sessions’ - which was originally released as a six song mini-album in 2014 - chronicles an era where these three devotees of the transformative power of heavy amplification (comprising Cam (vocals/bass guitar) guitarist Graham McVie and drummer Lester Spectre) had recently evolved from their earlier incarnation as the thrasher Stryker, henceforth allowing their dreams and passion to run rampant in abundance, which summarily resulted in a document with irresistible anthemic bravura to match its jagged attack “These songs are born from our youthful struggle to survive, to make ends meet, and to find our place in the world” reveals Cam, “We created this album on almost no budget while working full-time minimum wage jobs and scraping by. It was a labour of love and inspired by hardship – countless late night rehearsals after evening work shifts, followed by early morning shifts on a few hours of sleep. We poured everything we had into these songs, and we're very proud to see this album finally released in it's full form, all these years later.”
Indeed, such unhinged passion is eminently audible in full-throttle barnstormers like the hook-laden curtain-raiser ‘Never Enough’, the wickedly Priest-damanged ‘Possessed By Heavy Metal’ and the NWOBHM-tinged ‘Shocker’. Moreover, the unreleased tracks - including ‘Conquer The Skies’, the Shelley-derived ‘Ozymandias’ and the slavering ‘Maniac’, despite having been sidelined largely owing to uncontrollable circumstances involving a certain AWOL engineer, are every bit as potent and powerful to behold.
Nonetheless, this is a band unafraid to throw a curveball into proceedings, and a centrepiece of the record is the band’s unexpected cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Sisters Of The Moon’, in which Stevie Nicks’ beguiling tale of the esoteric proves a perfect match for the band’s starry-eyed stylings. “After the first time I heard that song I dreamt about it for many nights” reveals Cam. “The lyrics crept into my subconscious and I experienced them in different ways and from different perspectives each time I closed my eyes.. I'm a big fan of Stevie's lyrics and voice, and I believe she's done a lot for music and art by demonstrating the power of the mysterious”.
Unusual vibrations prevailed throughout the making of ‘Full Moon Sessions’, so titled as its recording unwittingly took place entirely on the nights of full moons. Cam wastes little time in
attributing much of this to such extra-terrestrial influence “During the whole process of writing, rehearsing, and recording these songs, we felt that we had something powerful and dangerous on our hands. The moon has always been associated with madness and confusion, and this 'lunacy' certainly had its effect on our song writing as well as the recording process through the many hands that worked on this project and left their mark, as well as in the fact that due to ‘moon madness' these recordings have only finally been fully uncovered to be released in their full form, at long last”
“I think there's a kind of idealism and innocence in this music that perhaps can only be captured and explored in youth” he surmises.”We wrote these songs in our late teens and early twenties, and we believed in them with absolute conviction. The devotion that went into The ‘Full Moon Sessions’ is something that we're still inspired to maintain” Such devotion is manifest on this deadly document - no less than the full-blooded roar and vigorous fury of classic heavy metal at its most quixotic and invigorating, not to mention a moon well worth a howl in its direction from any self-respecting headbanger.
supported by 38 fans who also own “The Full Moon Sessions (Expanded Edition)”
More fantastic music from Smoulder. Cage of Mirrors is easily one of the best cover songs I've ever heard, if for nothing more than the absolutely haunting intro performance by Sarah. It always gets me. Khaotica