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The Witch Is Back

Written by: BitterCOld
Published: August 18, 2018

What up, witches?

I am Bitter, Witchreviewer? I will find out the truth for you, have no fear.

Witch probably shows up in doom metal band names almost as regularly as Black or Dark do in black metal. Why golly, within a 60 day span alone you saw Withsorrow release Hexenhammer, Witch Mountain drop a self-titled album and Witchkiss unleash The Austere Curtains Of Our Eyes. Seriously, the MS legal team has informed us to advise in the strongest possible terms to dissuade and discourage our readers from taking a swig of beer (Witch's brew?) each time the word "Witch" is used in this ensuing article.

"Who knows which is witch and who is trve?", as Pink Floyd once sang.

So who is the true Witch-king of the hill?er Mountain?

Thus, welcome to Thunderwitchdome! There can be only one!

First up, Witchsorrow and Hexenhammer.

Haling form Hampshire, England, Necroskull (?Really?), Emily Witch and David Wilbrahammer form a swell power doom trio. Necroskull pulls some great riffs out of his axe while Emily rides all over the bass like it was a broom in flight and the dude with the coolest name in the band Wilbrahammers his drum kit. The big issue for me is despite cool components, it all sounds very much like Cathedral, complete to Necroskull channeling his inner Lee Dorrian.

First and foremost, I have loved Cathedral for decades now, and as far as I'm concerned, Gaz Jennings is Rifffinder General? so even at his strongest, Necroskull set the bar very high. And at his, erm, not strongest, his vocals are very reminiscent of Lee Dorrian, the single biggest hurdle I had to jump to appreciate Cathedral.

Enjoyable, fills a void in the doom community, but still, why listen not just pop in the original? Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live, though thou shalt suffer through more Dorrian-esque vocals.

WitchSorrow stream courtesy of Decibel mag

Next to be dunked in the river? Witch Mountain and their S/T release.

First off, Witch Mountain is not to be confused with neither Escape To Witch Mountain, Beyond Witch Mountain nor Race To Witch Mountain (now with The Rock) Disney franchises. And Witch Mountain is a full-length 2018 release, not to be confused with Witch Mountain's 2012 EP, Witch Mountain. Confused yet?

Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Witch Mountain have been around since the dawn of time ? err, for some 21 years now and replaced half their line-up between 2014's Mobile Angels and Witch Mountain, including having Kayla Dixon (at 23, only two years older than the band itself) step in on vocal duties.

So the singer is named Kayla, if you guessed they played some retro/blues tinged doom, you've just pinned the tail on the donkey. Or rather the nose on the witch. Even still, while being Doom en Vogue, they do jam well and her vocals both soar and are delivered with power and conviction. Additionally some swell harsh, rasped vocals are occasionally added to give some extra edge.

The band's jams are nice and fuzzy tight, some groovy soli are peppered throughout the release. Even if I've had more than my share, your share and Marcel's share of femme-fronted doom over the last few seasons of the witch, I still enjoyed this one and it has been enshrined in my 2018 "Keeper" playlist.

"Somebody tell my father how I died" she howls.

Sure, thou hast been burnt at the stake as thou art guilty of being a Witch.

Witch Mountain on Bandcamp

Finally we come to Witchkiss - The Austere Curtains Of Our Eyes

Hailing from Beacon, New York, Witchkiss stand a tad aside as they straddle that imaginary border with stoner, doom, sludge and post? so a bit different from the other contestants. At times Sludge is the dominant force, other times you find yourself in the Post-metal postal code.

The album spins around two primary forces. Potent riffing with (perhaps a wee bit too loud) vocal shouted mercilessly or occasionally shrieked down your earhole shifting to drops in intensity to quieter, relaxation-inducing lulls designed to suck you in and have you in your happy place. The band also incorporates some entrancing female vocals (almost sound like Laura from Kylesa during these blissful passages before screams and riffs, like a Flying Elbow off the top turnbuckle, rudely jolt you back to reality. Best seen in the nearly 10 minutes tranquilo sections of 'Blind Faith' and 'Death Knell' before 'Spirits Of The Dirt' puts you in the dirt.

Enjoyable release as well. Not sure they are guilty of witchcraft as with the others, but I'm in a hanging mode so hang them as well for consorting with the devil. Or something.
Witchkiss on Bandcamp

So that was a fun dunking, hanging and burning session, wasn't it? To recap, all three were worth the time to check them out? er, I mean interrogate.

Final Rankings:

Wicked Witch of the East - Witchsorrow (7/10)
Wicked Witch of the Rest - Witchkiss (7.2/10)
Wicked Witch of the Best - Witch Mountain (7.5/10)

There you have it.

Written on 18.08.2018 by BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 107 users
18.08.2018 - 23:57
Au Pays Natal
Fun article Craig. Don't forget about Skeletonwitch - Devouring Radiant Light, a terrific blend of thrash, melodeath and black metal. Oh and NIN - Bad Witch EP
19.08.2018 - 03:27
The Ancient One
Written by tea[m]ster on 18.08.2018 at 23:57

Fun article Craig. Don't forget about Skeletonwitch - Devouring Radiant Light, a terrific blend of thrash, melodeath and black metal. Oh and NIN - Bad Witch EP

Just wanted to stick with doom-ish stuff (Witchkiss wandered a tad off the reservation) ...
get the fuck off my lawn.

Beer Bug Virus Spotify Playlist crafted by Nikarg and I. Feel free to tune in and add some pertinent metal tunes!
19.08.2018 - 09:21
JoHn Doe
You say there's a band called Witch Mountain? Well I've listened to a band called Mountain Witch. Quite good.
I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
19.08.2018 - 14:53
Darkside Momo
Ssems you had fun writing that!
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