The Debate Rages: Witchcraft vs. Graveyard

It’s a battle for Sverige supremacy! Retro a retro! Winner takes Örebro! Other terrible Swedish puns!

I had this post planned to go up today even before the news came in that Witchcraft had joined the Nuclear Blast roster, where Graveyard already resides, but with the two as labelmates, it’s even better! Both bands’ pasts were already intertwined with Witchcraft guitarist/vocalist Magnus Pelander and Graveyard guitarist/vocalist Joakim Nilsson and bassist Rikard Eklund having been in under-appreciated Swedish proto-doom pioneers Norrsken together, but now their futures are interrelated as well.

So, with a host of links between the two acts, not to mention a stylistic core of ’70s worship running through both, I figured it’s time to find out which band inspires the most allegiance. Witchcraft hasn’t had a record since 2007’s The Alchemist continued the ascent to popularity that 2005’s Firewood and 2004’s self-titled began, but those albums — the first two particularly — helped set the stage for Graveyard to make their own run at heavy rocking glory, taking less direct influence from Pentagram, but still honing an ultra-analog approach on their 2007 self-titled debut and last year’s excellent Hisingen Blues.

Since it will have been five years by the time it gets out (not to mention a completely different band around Pelander) if Witchcraft has a new record in 2012, let’s make it as simple as possible and take the first album from each band. You could say Graveyard‘s songs are more rock and Witchcraft‘s more doom, but do you think the album Graveyard would have met the massive acclaim it did if not for Witchcraft paving the way? Or maybe you just think one is a better band than the other, flat out, not matter how many albums are involved? Let’s find out.

Witchcraft‘s Witchcraft vs. Graveyard‘s Graveyard. Take a second, revisit the bands/records below, and please leave a comment with your pick.

Witchcraft, “No Angel or Demon” from Witchcraft:

Graveyard, “Lost in Confusion” from Graveyard:

This is a tough one, but remember, the entire Swedish nation is depending on you, so, uh, no pressure. I’m pretty sure whoever wins this gets to be mayor of Stockholm for a week — yeah, it’s that big a deal. Hail Sweden.

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20 Responses to “The Debate Rages: Witchcraft vs. Graveyard”

  1. Damocles74 says:

    Burning Saviours!

  2. Jimi says:

    I’m from Sweden and love both bands with all my heart! I certainly agree, without Witchcraft I would never have discovered the holy Graveyard record! But I choose Graveyard, the best fucking live band I’ve ever seen!

  3. saturnine says:

    I’ve liked Witchcraft a lot longer than Graveyard, and they’re the reason I ever gave Graveyard a shot, so… Witchcraft’s Witchcraft. Graveyard’s Graveyard is lovely, though.

  4. Fastnbulbous says:

    I didn’t think the first Graveyard really got all that much acclaim, but I pick that one, because I listen to it more than the first Witchcraft. I’ve seen both bands live and I’d give Graveyard the edge there too. Graveyard supposedly will have another new album this year too, so it’ll be fun to compare the new ones. Hopefully sister band Spiders will be in the mix too!

  5. I first heard Graveyard when they opened for Witch several years ago. I remember talking to the lead guitar player outside the venue. At some point I told him that they sounded a lot like Witchcraft, and he got super bummed out!

    But anyway, I got into Witchcraft around the time of Firewood, which immediately became my favorite album of that year. I never really got into their self-titled debut to the same extent though. The Graveyard came along and kicked the shit out of these ears. Definitely similar to Witchcraft, but less campy and more blistering rock. So if we’re talking first albums (on their own merit, not which one paved the way for the other) I’m going with Graveyard.

  6. Bill Goodman says:

    Graveyard. Maybe it’s because I heard them first. The fact though, I go back to Graveyard often. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had the urge to listen to Witchcraft. It’s been a while.

  7. goAt says:

    Horisont! ;)

  8. Graves says:

    Witchcraft without a doubt. They nailed it first. Graveyard is good but I gotta go with Witchcraft. They came out with that Blue Cheer meets Black Sabbath via Deep Purple analog recording at the perfect time and succeeded where others failed. As if those bands early 70’s recordings were happening today.

  9. Matt S says:

    Witchcraft, if nothing else than for Firewood

  10. Jordi says:

    Tough decision dude! I’d say overall I prefer Graveyard just a bit over Witchcraft, but in music there’s hardly a need to choose one over the other (only in the case both were playing the same night at two different venues!). Anyways, can’t wait to hear both of their new LPs. Cheers!

  11. scott says:

    Both bands are very good and certainly, Witchcraft’s last record was amazing, showing a more progressive edge. Graveyard do not sound like Witchcraft, are more blues inspired, less doom. I love them both, so I can’t say one is better than the other, both are great bands. As for the comment about Horizont, they really lack variety and but I have not heard the new one yet…. ordered the vinyl though…

  12. mike l says:

    Tough call. And my answer would probably depend on my mood; darker mood is Witchcraft, more upbeat it’s Graveyard. I definitely listened to Witchcraft first, but Graveyard definitely was an eye opener.

  13. Perrin_Goldeneyes says:

    Since you’re asking to choose between their first albums, I’m going to go with Witchcraft.

    If I could choose generally I would take Graveyard, based on Hisingen Blues alone, because I like that album very much.

    Though it has to be said I probably wouldn’t have known Graveyard as early as I did if it weren’t for Witchcraft, because I saw them both in Antwerpen a couple of years ago, with Graveyard opening for Witchcraft.

  14. NotASwede says:

    At first I thought this was a silly article, because in the end it’s a very subjective choice. And just because one band is more popular than another doesn’t make them better at any rate.

    My preference is certainly Graveyard. I liked Witchcraft before I even heard about Graveyard, but I love Graveyard. And they don’t sound similar in the slightest. It’s weird people say Witchcraft is darker because I find Graveyard a lot darker, although they are able to pick up the pace and beat at times.

    I find Witchcraft very pop-ish, and often dragged out but not in the good sense. Graveyard on the other hand haven’t put a foot wrong in my book.

  15. Clint says:

    Witchcraft is the better band, by far. Graveyard is only a topic due to scoring with a major label… There are a lot of swedish “retro-bands” that are a lot better than graveyard, unfortunately they’ll proabably stay unknown to the masses if no major label picks em’ up.

  16. Jimbo says:

    A mi me gustan las dos ¿es que hay que elegir? Suenan de putisima madre, a ver si las puedo ver en directo por España. Un abrazo a todos los suecos locos, desde Salamanca.

  17. Oskar says:

    Both graveyard and witchcraft are very good, but i guess i have to say witchcraft, there’s something with them that make’s them fucking good!

  18. Wot about Legend? Witchcraft released that in 2012….

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