Witches are old hat at this point. There’s only two ways to go about them after all. Ugly, tall women with noses as crooked as their morals. Or the sexy next-door neighbor who’s only trying to use her magical ways to make life a little easier for her friends. Either way, pointy hats and brooms are involved.
Nox Arcana steps away from these tropes and takes us back to the origin of witches. These women live deep within the shadows, and are as wise and old as the forests they make their homes in. Looks might not always be there forte, but their power is undeniable. These are the witches that haunt us at night; the ones we try to get in touch with during the Halloween season. We now have access to them thanks to Vargo.
The opening is typical of all of Nox Arcana’s albums. Vargo (this time in guise of a witch) welcomes us to Raven’s Hollow, and we’re treated to a glimpse of what’s to come. But the predictability ends there. By far, Season of the Witch is the most powerful and diverse album Nox Arcana has dreamed up.
This diversity allows the whole spectrum of witch folklore to be explored. Track eleven, “Witch Hunters” is a surprisingly bright song, filled with higher notes and melodies, brass instruments, and a steady tempo. But there’s also that sense of dread that I’ve so come to love. Other notable songs include “Warlock’s Wake”, a distinctively masculine sort of song, with brooding tempos and melodies, while “Bell, Book, and Candle” has a whimsical piano melody and a softer beat, capturing the more sensual side of the witches. Overall the album is well-balanced, covering just about everything related to witches with a few surprises along the way.
One of the biggest surprises in Season of the Witch is “Raven’s Hollow”. “Raven’s Hollow” could easily pass as a remix to Nox Arcana’s famous “Night of the Wolf”. The beat is the same in both, and they have similar melodies. And still “Raven’s Hollow” stands on its own as an excellent song. It’s one of the strongest on the album. I feel that it’s a unique tribute to Nox Arcana’s classic albums and songs. It also perfectly captures the overall themes seen throughout witch-lore.
In Season of the Witch we see the powerful and dangerous people, the warlocks, the witch hunters, and of course the witches themselves. In telling the stories of these characters, Vargo provides us with a spellbinding listening experience. I would argue this is one of Nox Arcana’s best albums. I have no doubt it will become a classic. Powerful songs, unique takes on classic witch iconography, and fully atmospheric, Season of the Witch is a must for anyone who is a fan of gothic music or Nox Arcana. Unique and entrancing, this is a five-star album.