Flag Of Fate
Label: Nuclear Blast
These Swedes' fourth album sure is clear-vocaled for metal. Sometimes Magnus Pelander even sounds too conversational; a pinch more power and preening wouldn't hurt. Even so, his apparent political distress in "An Alternative to Freedom" and "Democracy" is vaguer than drug warning "White Light Suicide." Witchcraft's lineup overhaul hasn't hurt much, though: The '70s freedom-rock 16th notes get fairly funky in songs like "Flag of Fate," and dystopian Sabbath sludge switches seamlessly into psych swirl or Zep stomp. Even the 12-minute closer is saved somewhat by an urgent Doors-ish turn.