Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Acid Witch - Witchtanic Hellucinations (2008)

I was captured at first by the very colorful and cheesy cover art for this, and then realized it was on Razorback Records. Thus, my excitement grew in bounds, and ultimately I was not disappointed by the trio's brand of psychedelically imbued sludgy death/doom metal. Through the years, though, it seems like the album has been somewhat forgotten, perhaps because other bands have come along with similar trippy, tongue in cheek horror imagery, perhaps also because the morbid Michigan outfit has one upped itself. Now, with a reissue through Hell's Headbangers (who also released their latest, best full-length Stoned), those not in the know can experience the bludgeoning firsthand.

Acid Witch rocks, it's simple. They evoke colorful, humorous kitsch and imagery for this brand of doom in tracks like "Swamp Spells" and "Rabid Werewitch". The tunes have all the fuzz and groove you'd want from the sludge sect, but the dark brutal vocals of old school death and doom, as well as some ingrained, ambient atmospheres with guitars and samples, as on the intro to "Cauldron Cave". They don't shy away from the retro flavored lead work, and many of the trippy effects on the melodies often feel as if the guitars themselves are soaking up bong hits. But perhaps most importantly, they evoke fucking DOOM. It only takes a few chords, bends and slides in the right place and Acid Witch have managed to convert something so tongue in cheek into some real doom, at times reminding me of the local heroes Grief if they were dressed up as haunted house ushers. That this is all captured alongside song titles like "Broomstick Bitch" and "Witches Tits" is baffling but welcome.

Granted, there are a few riffing spells here which are admittedly dry and predictable, so Acid Witch is forced to leave a lot of the atmosphere up to the imagination of the listener, and you get enough variation between the sluggish, graveyard emanations and the uptempo outbursts. Most of all, lovers of ridiculous cult horror films, Hammer studios and so forth will admire the incorporation of organs and other schlock into the banging mix of balls out rock riffs and guttural frog inflection. I swear, the vocalist of this band was actually, at some point, the victim of some stereotypical witch transformation into an amphibian. Though it's only a few years old now, this was a pretty original band. If you're a fan of psychedelic crushers like Bongripper, or the horror lusting Razorback roster of Ghoul, Lord Gore, Crypticus, Frightmare, Blood Freak, etc you may want to check this out. If you're just into death and doom with a tinge of atmosphere and sludge, you DEFINITELY want it. One of the better bands of this style, along with Hooded Menace.

Verdict: Win [7.25/10]


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