This is part of a Retrospective that covers the bands entire discography. You can find the post for the previous album here. There’s also an introduction and disclaimer that you can read here, that I strongly suggest you start out with.
Well folks, we’re finally here. We’ve finally reached an album in this Retrospective that I don’t particularly care for. Up until this point, the vast majority of this Retrospective has been overly positive for the most part, because if it wasn’t already clear: I love Blood on the Dance Floor. A lot. And one of the biggest reasons why I started doing this Retrospective in the first place was to share a more positive and “fair” critique of the bands music, from the perspective of someone who it actually appeals to.
But even I’m not the biggest fan of Bitchcraft. In all honesty, outside of a few songs, it kinda sucks. Especially when compared to the last few records the band put out prior to this one.
After Bad Blood, which I generally consider to be the bands best album and magnum opus, I thought Blood on the Dance Floor had nowhere to go but up. They’d finally broken away from their juvenile days of sexually explicit music about fucking and sucking and had fully transitioned towards writing more serious and meaningful music that actually had a point to it. While the likes of Epic and I Scream I Scream were, and still are, among the bands best work it was really refreshing to see them move towards more emotional and heartfelt music on releases like Evolution and The Anthem of the Outcast. And Bad Blood was the pinnacle of that serious direction, being a record that focused heavily on the topics of depression, anxiety, frustration and emotional abandonment. It even had some pretty meaningful social commentary on tracks like Bohemyth and Sick Sad World. It was an extremely powerful album that resonated with my own personal experiences a lot, and I’d hoped that whatever came next would be something in the same serious vein.
But as you can probably already tell from the fucking title, Bitchcraft is no such record. If anything it has the band regressing back to their early days of sexually explicit nonsense. Only unlike the likes of Epic or Let’s Start a Riot, there’s very little outsider charm or variety to be found. With the band having moved on to more serious songwriting since Evolution, seeing them go back to their more juvenile roots just feels like an unwelcome blast to the past. And they did try here. They really tried to make Bitchcraft stand out, with a dark, gothic, occult-themed aesthetic and a heavy Dubstep inspired production, but… It just doesn’t fucking work! …Most of the time anyway.
According to Jayy, this decision to go back to their roots was the result of Dahvie panicking due to Bad Blood selling significantly worse than Evolution did. Jayy believed that this was simply due to the fact that digital downloads had become the new thing and that less and less people were out buying actual CD’s. But Dahvie on the other hand freaked out, and stupidly believed it was due to the more serious direction that the band had taken in recent years, and therefore decided to go back to writing dirty, sexually explicit songs to “win back” the “original” fans. This was a decision that should never have been made, and it’s ultimately the reason why Bitchcraft is probably the weakest full length release in the bands entire discography. There’s no substance here. No social commentary. No point. Nothing. It’s all just songs about fucking, only this time it isn’t funny, it isn’t played up for laughs and it’s completely lacking the unique, outsider charm of the bands earliest material. And for some reason there’s a spooky, occultic twist thrown into the mix because… Why the fuck not? On occasion this twist does work well, but more often than not, it just feels tacked on, unnecessarily edgy and really, really forced.
In terms of production, as I mentioned earlier, Bitchcraft has a very heavy Dubstep sound to it. However, unlike Bad Blood there’s barely any complexity or unique editing to be found here at all. In all honesty the production on most of the tracks just sounds exactly the fucking same. Wub wub wub wub. Fuck off. It’s a high quality sound, arguably even better than Bad Blood in terms of actual production quality, but it’s also completely lacking in originality, complexity and creativity. Because, as if the album didn’t already feel soulless enough with its lack of substance, the beats just sound like your typical, mid-2010’s, Dubstep bullshit. Which not only makes the sound of Bitchcraft feel incredibly generic, but also horrendously outdated. Just like Dubstep as a whole, this album simply hasn’t aged well. At all. Even when compared to the bands earlier releases which often made references to late 2000’s MySpace and Scene Kid culture, which have both been dead forever at this point. Despite only being 5 years old at the time of me writing this post, Bitchcraft feels more outdated than any of that shit. And that speaks volumes.
So I guess I should talk about the actual tracks now. Like my Bad Blood analysis, I’ll be discussing all of them again, not because I necessarily have a lot to say, but because there’s only 10 of them. And 2 of them are an intro and outro track respectively. In fact, while we’re on that subject: that’s another issue with this fucking album. It’s like half an hour long. I guess you could argue that’s a good thing, since it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, but… 30 minutes? Really? For a full length release? The Anthem of the Outcast, which was an EP, was longer than this.
Anyway, enough on that rant. Let’s analyse this bitch. Craft. Hehe.
So the album opens up with Sorcery, which is actually a pretty nice, ambient intro track. It’s pretty chilled out, melodic and has an almost Chiptune quality to it. There’s really not much else to say about it. It’s a fine intro and despite only being a minute long, with no vocals, it’s better than the vast majority of the album.
From there we move right into the title track, Bitchcraft which is… Fine. It’s far from the worst song that the band has ever released, and it has a pretty catchy chorus, but it also immediately highlights the majority of the problems I have with the album as a whole. The horribly dated and overly wobbly Dubstep sound, the generic instrumentation, the stupid lyrics that are edgy as fuck, in the worst possible way… The only thing this track has going for it is it’s catchy chorus and the fact that it’s one of the few songs on the record that actually manages to sell the darker and spookier aesthetic that the album was going for, while also retaining the energy of a typical Blood song. It isn’t amazing. It isn’t terrible. It’s… Fine. Painfully average.
3 X 3 is next and it’s one of those songs that no matter how many times I listen to this fucking album, I always some how forget that it exists. And then I stumble across it again and go “Oh yeah! This exists!” It’s a much slower and more atmospheric track compared to the rest of the album, with some ambient instrumentation and pitch shifted vocals that sound kinda cool, but unfortunately the rest of the song is just… Really boring and forgettable. The chorus in particular is just annoying as fuck. Not even Shawn Brandon, who previously featured on the track Hollywood Tragedy on Evolution, can salvage this painfully dull track. Ugh.
Thankfully, after those two mediocre songs, we move on to the best track on the entire album Pure Fuckin’ Evil. The lyrics are pretty fucking juvenile and ridiculously edgy, having an anti-christian slant and an almost childish rebelliousness in the form of lines like “We’re the ones your parents hate. Fuck their rules and fuck their faith.” But thankfully these stupid lyrics are surrounded by actually interesting instrumentation and solid delivery from both Dahvie and Jayy. This is also one of the few tracks where the darker mood and aesthetic, as well as the wobbly, Dubstep production actually work rather well together. The chorus also features Wil Francis, the former frontman of the Gothic Punk band Aiden who went on to pursue a solo career as a Darkwave/Industrial artist under the name “William Control”. This is actually the song that introduced me to William Control and made me into a huge fan of his. His delivery during the chorus is absolutely incredible. Control is a fantastic vocalist with an extremely powerful, booming voice and he single-handedly makes Pure Fuckin’ Evil the best track on the entire album. And on that note, go listen to his debut album Hate Culture instead of this. It’s a much more worthwhile listening experience and you’ll thank me later.
Then we have Call Me Master which is one of the bands most popular songs, while also being the last big “hit” of their career, and for good reason. It’s a dirty, violent sex song about BDSM with an occultic twist, but it’s ultimately saved by its fantastic, Brostep infused, production and a super catchy chorus. The beat fucking bangs on this one and Dahvie and Jayy both deliver some really great, melodic sounding vocals. There’s even a pretty catchy and rap section near the end of the song that I can’t bring myself to hate. It’s one of the only tracks on this release that feels like an iconic Blood on the Dance Floor song, managing to maintain the bands signature style, and for that reason it’s probably the best one on here, besides Pure Fuckin’ Evil.
Sadly, this quality doesn’t last for long. We moved from mediocre to great and now we’re going all way down to absolutely dreadful territory with Blaq Magick, which is one of the most dated and poor-sounding catastrophes of a song I’ve ever had the displeasure of listening to. I don’t know why Shawn Brandon got the short end of the stick with Bitchcraft, but once again he can’t save this one either, despite how good he is. With 3 X 3 and Blaq Magick, Brandon’s two features end up being the worst songs on the entire album. I honestly don’t even have much to say about this one other than it sounds really fucking dated and features some absolutely dreadful rapping that makes NAV look competent by comparison.
And again, the album soars back up to “pretty good” with the next track, Poison Apple which honestly kicks fucking ass and is a bit of an outlier compared to the rest of the tracks because it doesn’t have much of a Dubstep sound, instead being a hard-hitting, heavy Electropop song with some guitars and creepy keyboards. Dahvie and Jayy deliver some pretty great vocals on this one, with Jeffree Star making a guest appearance in the songs second verse and also doing a pretty good job. This is probably Star’s best performance as a vocalist, and I rather like it even though I normally can’t fucking stand his work at all. Poison Apple is again, also one of the few tracks where the spooky, occult aesthetic of the album actually works in its favour, and it’s pretty great for it. It’s a much needed, unique sounding track on an album that could have used significantly more variety.
The penultimate song, Possession is mildly interesting, with a really cool sounding, glitchy instrumental, but unfortunately the vocals and chorus are just really fucking terrible and drown out what would otherwise be a really great song. It’s nothing offensively bad, but it’s also nothing I’d go out of my way to listen to, outside of doing so for the sole purpose of this Retrospective. There’s really not much else to say about it.
And finally, we have Freaks Do It Better! which would probably be the worst song on the entire album if it wasn’t for the phenomenal chorus featuring female vocalist, Kerry Louise. Her voice is really great and a perfect fit for the albums gothic aesthetic, sounding like something in the vein of Nightwish or Within Temptation. Unfortunately the rest of the song is completely ruined by the god awful verses which, much like Blaq Magick, contain some of the worst rapping Dahvie and Jayy have ever fucking recorded. How did we go from Unchained and Crucified By Your Lies to this atrocity? What the fuck happened here? Even Jayy, who is normally competent regardless of the release, sounds fucking dreadful here. And it’s a real shame, because I absolutely love the chorus for Freaks Do It Better! but then every time I want to listen to it, I need to get through two of the worst verses I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s a shame Kerry Louise never really had a career after this, outside of Dahvie’s solo project Master of Death (which we’ll be covering next).
There’s also an outro track, Obliviate, but there’s honestly nothing to say about it. It’s a minute long outro of noise that closes out an extremely disappointing album in a fittingly disappointing way.
And that more or less sums up Bitchcraft as a whole: disappointing. After the likes of Evolution and Bad Blood, which were both albums that showed a clear progression and growth in the bands sound and style, this one just feels like a regression more than anything else. With a very samey and dated production on most of the tracks, an incredibly forced and edgy occult theme and the lyrics and songwriting being stripped of all substance and meaning that was present on the bands previous 3 albums, Bitchcraft fucking sucks. Outside of a few tracks and the odd catchy chorus, this one is a real struggle for me to listen to all the way through. And it’s only 30 minutes long! And now that I’ve written about the entire album in depth for this Retrospective, I will probably never listen to the whole thing again. I have no real reason to now.
There are a few good to decent songs on here. Pure Fuckin’ Evil and Call Me Master are great. Poison Apple is a fun time. Freaks Do It Better! has a great chorus. But everything else? Even I can’t find much to praise there, and I love this dumb band.
Bitchcraft is easily the worst Blood on the Dance Floor album and the start of a bit of downward spiral in quality until the band briefly broke up in 2016. But we’ll get to that when we talk about Scissors later on in the Retrospective (which is still better than this, by a significant margin. Because it’s actually a good album).
There’s very little craft in Bitchcraft. And it’s a shame.
And now, here’s some track ratings for you all:
- Sorcery – 8/10
- Bitchcraft – 5/10
- 3 X 3 (Featuring Shawn Brandon) – 3/10
- Pure Fuckin’ Evil (Featuring William Control) – 10/10
- Call Me Master – 9/10
- Blaq Magick (Featuring Shawn Brandon) – 1/10
- Poison Apple (Featuring Jeffree Star) – 9/10
- Possession – 5/10
- Freaks Do It Better! (Featuring Kerry Louise) – 7/10
- Obliviate – 2/10
Pure Fuckin’ Evil, Call Me Master, Poison Apple
3 X 3, Blaq Magick
Would I Recommend It?
Do you even need to ask that? This is probably the first time I can definitely say “no”. Outside of the three best tracks I mentioned and the chorus to Freaks, there’s nothing here that I’d consider essential. If you’re curious and you like Dubstep and gothic shit, then maybe you’ll get something out of this that I didn’t. But I’ll stick to listening to the few tracks that stand out from now on, rather than suffering through the rest of the album ever again.
It isn’t the worst thing in the world, but there are better Blood on the Dance Floor albums or EP’s you listen to. Like Bad Blood. Go listen to that instead. Or anything else by the band. Except Cruel Pornography. Fuck that album. We’ll get to that one soon (spoilers: it isn’t very good).
Next time we’ll be covering something a little different: the first and only release by Dahvie Vanity’s first solo project, Master of Death. This album is notable for being a concept album, with its own narrative and a unique, darker Brostep sound that is pretty much what Bitchcraft should have been.
How does this side project hold up compared to your average Blood release? We’ll have to wait and see.
Until next time!