Ghost Cult’s DJ Astrocreep caught up with the members of Dead Witches at the Heavy Psych Sounds Fest earlier this year in London. The band is a low key Stoner Doom supergroup (ex-Electric Wizard, With The Dead, Psychedelic Witchcraft, Sea Bastard), with a fascinating lineage and power songs. Their new album The Final Exorcism is out now via Heavy Psych Sounds. Check it out! Continue reading
If you’ve worn out your copy of Dopethrone (Rise Above) and have still got a hankering for a dirty heap of occult-themed Sabbath worship, you could do a lot worse than UK Doom outfit Dead Witches. Continue reading
Dorrian. Bagshaw. Greening. One band. Shall we just stop now?…
Given the press surrounding the marriage of ex-Electric Wizard (and please can we not forget Ramesses?!) members to Rise Above founder Lee Dorrian, you’d be forgiven for thinking that we’re about to experience our own version of the mid-90s East-West Rap war. So let’s forget all that nonsense and focus on Doom supergroup With The Dead’s eponymous debut album.
With The Dead (Rise Above) ploughs a similar furrow to their West Country rivals yet delivers a filthy edge to whirling vocals and Tim Bagshaw’s riffs which energises the sound somewhat, and lifts it above that over-trodden path. The crushing riff of opener ‘Crown of Burning Stars’ is lightened ever so slightly by a slow groove, slightly fuzzed production and a Psych effect to Dorrian’s bellow which doesn’t dilute its lascivious, malevolent sneer. The ensuing ‘The Cross’ possesses a lively yet portentous structure, sonorous rhythms performing a lazy American smooth with the mind, the groove almost catching but never testing the gravitas.
Whilst the occasionally bloated ‘Nephthys’ falls into the same stodgy moss as Witchsorrow, a Sludge mentality gives the titanic, crawling ‘Living With The Dead’ an early fire: first flattening with oscillating guitars and roars, then dropping to a gentle, sparing rhythm. The explosion is coming however, and in true Hammer Horror-drenched fashion: the hypnotic yet mournful crush swaddling the listener in a diseased cocoon. The head-nodding, slow rut of ‘I Am The Virus’ is decorated with cosmic effects and more cavernous roars, those brief flashes of lead and hulking drums enlivening some rather clunky lyrics. In an unbearably tense finale the crushing weight of closer ‘Screams From My Own Grave’ gradually imbues the sense of claustrophobic, crawling terror that is so obviously the intention.
With The Dead is yet another 2015 Doom album that won’t win prizes for originality, and one wonders how much further this particular twig of the branch has left to grow. It’s an album that does, however, possess enough variance, power, identity and nefarious intent to be a worthy addition to the annals.
As Dorset’s premier exponents of unrelenting heaviness Electric Wizard have never had it easy. Those familiar with their monolithic dirges will be aware of the turmoil the band has undergone since its inception with more line-up changes since recording 2010’s ‘Black Masses’ with drummer Mark Greening entering and rapidly departing the fold due to more issues with substance abuse and a lengthy legal battle with former label Rise Above to say that Time To Die (Spinefarm) has undergone a difficult conception would be an understatement.
All the hallmarks of Wizard’s sound remain present yet there is definitely a feeling that some ideas have been recycled with some familiar patterns reoccurring. Satan and the Supercoven are reprised in the lyrics but this is one bad trip that’s hard to get out of.
An epic peon to infamous acid murderer Ricky Kasso who allegedly cut out his victims eyes in a drug induced satanic ritual back in June 1984. ‘Time To Die’ is a vicious and negative record which starts slowly but lures you into its murky depths. The sinister hallucinogenic organ work which permeates ‘Destroy Those Who Love God’ delivers all the nocturnal Lovecraftian evil with its fitting samples from documentary ‘The Devil Worshippers’ to good effect. ‘Funeral Of Your Mind’ drags you into the vortex with a nasty tumultuous riff and Jus Oborn’s anguished vocal lurking beneath the sea of feedback and percussion which producer Chris Fielding (Conan) has done a bang up job in retaining the feel of the bands early work while allowing for some of the greater tonal clarity the later work has enjoyed.
Trance inducing repetition has long been the bands calling card and the ethos of tune low, play slow and worship Satan is adhered to with rigid stoicism. The organ adds atmosphere to the oppressive terror on ‘Saturn Dethroned’ yet this is a fairly typical effort from Osborn and company which neither tarnishes their legacy nor will increase their ‘Witchcult’ greatly in size. A consistent album which falls short of reflecting the majesty of their live ceremonies.
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