LABEL: REAL GONE MUSIC
VINYL RELEASE DATE: 11/6/2020
ALBUM RELEASE DATE: 1969
VARIANT: FIRE AND BRIMSTONE LP
We’ve reissued a lot of “cult” albums at Real Gone Music. But of all the releases we’ve put out, this is the cult-iest of them all. That’s because it’s actually an occult album, the first record to bring Satanic themes to rock music. The upside down crosses, the “devil’s horns” hand’s signs that are commonplace with metal bands both past and present…they all started here. Coven even had a bassist named Oz Osborne…and the first track on the album was entitled “Black Sabbath,” for, er, heaven’s sake! So there’s no question that this 1969 album dealt with the devil first.
While subsequent bands exploited demonic imagery and occult themes for commercial success and sensationalism, Coven were true (un)believers. Thus, the last track on the album, “Satanic Mass,” is a full Black Mass, while the double-gatefold album jacket—which we have faithfully reproduced—not only displays a picture of Coven’s lead vocalist, Jinx Dawson, splayed naked across a ritualistic altar surrounded by hooded members of the band and its associates, but also includes the full text of a Black Mass along with lyrics to the unabashedly Satan-worshipping songs. In the end, Witchcraft was a little too far ahead of its time; coming out in 1969, at the height of hysteria about Satanism whipped up by the Manson Family murders, the album generated a firestorm of reaction, which turned into an inferno when Manson himself was photographed holding a copy of the record. The album was recalled, Dunwich withdrew support, and the band bounced around a couple of other labels before going on hiatus in 1976. But Coven remains a crucial, if underrecognized, influence on hard rock and heavy metal.
Now, Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls is reincarnated with full artwork intact and a limited fire (orange) and brimstone (pale blue) vinyl pressing. Whether approached as a cultural artifact, a totemic fetish, a camp classic, or just really cool music, it will cast a spell on you.
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