Tuesday, March 18, 2008



One of my major problems with the 2006 self-titled debut from Vermont's Witch was that it was just too stripped down. I understand that they were trying very hard to lean more towards an authentic classic metal sound as opposed to falling under the "stoner rock" label. However in doing so their sound was a little thin and I got the impression that they were apprehensive about really dipping too far into being metal. Two years later and we get and the new album and it comes blaring on with "Eye" which has a real live in the studio vibe even if it's not. It's obvious that the band has become heavier and faster in their approach plus they seem far more comfortable with what they are doing here. The majority of the album has that hazy, scratchy guitar sound and the deep pounding rhythms of early 1970's metal. The most obvious influences are the two usual suspects which of course are the legendary Black Sabbath and Pentagram the masters of early, subtle doom. Now that's not too say that this album is a complete throwback to those early days of metal because they maintain some more modern sounds as well. A few tracks touch on 90's style rock and the vocals in general have a feel that isn't completely attached to early metal yet it still works. Witch work upon a heavy off the cuff approach with a loose, spacey feel and the two sounds help to give the music an approach that offers some very different sounds, but somehow they work together. They also get some points for a rather smooth touch as several songs slide rather than feeling the need to try and clobber you with one big sludgy riff which is a trap that I think too many acts try. I think with this album that Witch pushed aside pretences and thinking so much about what they should and should not do. Instead it sounds very much like they opened up as just went at it. The results are a fairly honest album that's active and varied enough to appeal to most fans


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