Witch Mountain return from their three-plus-year hiatus with a refreshed line-up (new singer Kayla Dixon and bass player Justin Brown join band stalwarts Rob Wrong and Nate Carson) and a new self-titled album out on May 25 via Svart Records.
“We’ve always been a patient band,” said founding drummer Nathan Carson. “Thanks to all the touring Rob Wrong and I have done with Justin and Kayla over the last three years, we were able to make this album as a full-fledged, road-tested, family unit. Over twenty years, Witch Mountain has never peaked. Each record and show is better than the last. It was a tiny scene when we started, and it’s incredibly saturated now. But we’ve always had our own unique twist on Northwestern Doom that sets us apart. Can’t wait to share the latest and greatest album with our fans.”
Playing deep and dirty sounding doom but with clean and clear female vocals, Witch Mountain certainly sound like a band refreshed. Booming bass, crunching riffs and an air of the occult to them.
With the likes of Midnight, Mechanical World and Burn You Down they deliver a groovy and filth-encrusted record. By keeping things lighter thanks to the mournful vocals Witch Mountain is instantly a lot more accessible than many doom records.
It’s not lacking in heaviness & you only need to listen to the latter of three mentioned above to see that. It even manages to throw in a guitar solo alongside the fuzziness of the percussion.
Hellfire then breaks up the doom with a short and dark-fuelled melody that is all about the vocals backed up with acoustic guitar strumming. A sweet sounding number that might feel at odds with the rest of the album but certainly isn’t lacking impact.
Nighthawk ends things with an eye-opening occultist doom effort. Over 14 minutes long, it is impressive in just how distinct it sounds while not being unfamiliar in regards to the rest of the album. Slow, methodical and sharp, it creates an atmosphere of smokey basements and incense burning. Flashes of heavier riffs and increased volume stops it drifting away and getting lost as these moments happen just as the attention is beginning to slip, snapping you awake.
A thumping drum beat and ferocious blast of intensity closes out the track and the album as a whole leaving a serious sense of satisfaction.
Witch Mountain – Witch Mountain Full Track Listing:
2. Mechanical World
3. Burn You Down
Witch Mountain - Witch Mountain (Svart Records)
The Final Score - 8/10