Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Witch Mountain - S/T (2018)

Although the band was founded over 20 year ago and their new, self-titled album is actually their fifth full-length, this release still represents a first of sorts for Portland's Witch Mountain. Although they've been teasing the world with singles for the past couple of years, this is the first full release to feature singer Kayla Dixon and bassist Justin Brown who have been with the band since 2015. But even with the new(ish) faces in the lineup, Witch Mountain is still playing the same style of traditional doom metal fronted by powerful, bewitching vocals that they've become known for and goddamn - it might just sound better than ever. The album kicks off with "Midnight" which stirs up the darkness as it hammers on slow, hard, and steady while Kayla showcases more soul in the vocals than we've ever heard before. It sets the tone and a precedent for the rest of the album of wicked songs and riffing - and the band doesn't disappoint! Every track has its own kind of magic and command over the shadows as the tunes conjure a devilish aura. The guitar work has plenty of evil, bluesy style to it and the music keeps giving me flashes of classics like Trouble and Reverend Bizarre but with a modern dynamic depth. The album closes with the 14 minute odyssey "Nighthawk" which combines all of the albums strengths into one magnificent track that starts off ominous and bluesy before lashing out with some metal brutality and then ending in a bone-chilling vortex that swirls everything together. This album is a treat for longtime fans and newcomers alike, so put it on and play it LOUD - it's worth the hearing damage! -Brandon

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