Lock up your bitches…something stinking, sick and wicked this way comes!!!! Following in the filthy wake of two excellent rough and raw demos comes Iron Witch’s first EP proper and well worth the wait it’s been.
Opening with “A 45 To Pay The Rent” it’s clear that, despite a “pro” production job done at Chuckalumba Studios (Electric Wizard), Iron Witch have done little to iron out their rough edges, which is just as well as this is a band that thrives on the rough edges!!! Iron Witch don’t aim to break any moulds, just amplifiers. Their syrup thick stoner blues riffs echo the primal spirit of Sabbath and coat them in a tasty layer of Eyehategod inspired grime before sticking a fetid Black Flag cherry on the top of the heap.
“Single Malt” careens from a face punching rocked up riff to a tortuous doom hewn verse all capped off with some caustic vocal vomiting. In the hands of Iron Witch sludge rock almost becomes something catchy. The main riff will sit at the back of your subconscious and reveal its filthy cock to you when you least expect it.
The now trademark harrowing squeals of feedback announce the arrival of “Booze Blues”, a track that’s already been dragged through the mire on the band’s previous two demos but here given an extra injection of molten lead into its collapsing doom filled veins. Again the simplicity and incessant nature of the riff hammers it into your memory with a shit stained sledgehammer.
“Jailhouse” makes another appearance from the previous demo but, like the other re-recorded tracks, benefits from the additional guts that John Stephens’ production job has given as it rolls along on its grubby Sabbath groove before taking on a “Hole In the Sky” charge of urgency half way through. If Sabbath hadn’t grown up listening to jazz and The Shadows and grew up listening to Discharge in a mental hospital this is how they may have sounded!!!!
More feedback heralds the start of the epic “The Cruelty of Mankind”, a near 7 minute pus ridden dirge that would rival Winter for utter despair. The vocals here sound like an inmate locked up for their own protection. One of the (many) great things about Iron Witch is that they don’t flog a crawling tempo to death and it isn’t long before they gather round the mirror, take a sniff of something and hit the accelerator for a mid section that sounds like a juggernaut ploughing into a coach load of kids before we’re back in the asylum for some more agonising, painful doom.
Iron Witch have the potential to take Iron Monkey’s crown as the greatest UK sludge band, and give most US bands a definite run for their money and this release is simply a MUST HAVE for all sludge heads yet has enough guts and swing to appeal to the doomsters and stoners out there as well. One little niggle, I would have liked to have heard 5 tracks that hadn’t been featured on any other recordings but for those of you not privy to their previous work this is essential.
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall