Thank God for Blackwitch Pudding.
Somebody once told me you can tell a lot from a name. Naming your spawn ‘DuShayne’ will severely inhibit his chances of entering high society. However, why anyone would want to enter the world of sycophantic megalomaniacs, or vicariously wish it upon their children, is beyond me. Now back to Blackwitch Pudding.
Black pudding, should you be unaware, is a kind of meat sausage made from viscera and fats – but the ‘Black’ bit comes from the fermented blood added to give it flavour. A delicacy to some, a hideous proposition to others. Blackwitch Pudding are both a delicacy and a hideous proposition, which is handy yeah? ‘Taste The Pudding’ could be a title of a record by Spinal Tap or Steel Panther – and tongues remain planted firmly inbetween cheeks throughout the seven tracks on this release, it seems as though Blackwitch Pudding have discovered a lost lyric book from either of these cock-rock plonkers – which makes the record laugh-out-loud funny, if you like songs and jokes about ejaculation, cocks and sluts from outer space.
In all of their press, rightly so, there’s mention of one Billy Anderson. He’s produced some of my favourite albums – and no doubt some of yours too. Not only did he produce/engineer the stoner rock masterpiece ‘Holy Mountain’ with Sleep – but he also ‘engineered’, if that word can even apply – Sleep’s (and stoner rock’s) zenith ‘Dopesmoker.’ For those of you who have heard it, I needn’t write another word. For those of you who haven’t, do it right away. The first time I ever listened to it, I had absolutely no idea what to make of lyrics like “Proceed the Weedian, Nazareth”. Now, needless to say, I do. Sleep are gods, Billy Anderson’s halo is assured by association.
Billy Anderson is a versatile and talented producer, the list of albums he’s produced reads like a who’s-who of off-kilter heavy music. He’s produced some of my favourites: Om, High on Fire, Red House Painters (!), Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine. He was part of the Melvins for one record. He’s produced Neurosis, Mr. Bungle, Sick of it All and Weedeater. However, despite all of these credits, one stands out – he engineered what can only be considered to be another one of the best heavy albums of all time in ‘Soundtracks for the Blind’ by Swans.
With all that considered, Blackwitch Pudding’s release becomes even more tasty – especially when I tell you he’s back in Sleep-ish territory. And I’ve not written a word about the music.
First tune ‘Mortre’D’ (see what they did there?) opens with a HUGE GUITAR SOUND humming in your ears while strings are lazily scraped a la Sunn O))) or Teeth of Lions – then comes a war-cry from the distance! Hark! The ‘singer’ sounds like a bloke who’s just found out he’s lost the final bag of herb on Planet Earth. Furious doesn’t cover it. The spit and bile he’s wrenching out on this record are quite something. His mangled groans and the gnarly guitar line marry perfectly – it’s like it’s 1995 all over again. Blackwitch Pudding love a reefer – just look at their Facebook page – and this slow, droney, fuzzy shit-kicker will make your head nod and your eyelids heavy. The riffage of the first track alone is monstrous; it gets faster and faster, building to a crescendo of noise fuckery.
Second tune ‘Super Sluts From Outer Space’ (told you) is a real ripper. This particular tune sounds like High On Fire at their most grisly covering Spinal Tap at their most debauched (in a good way.) The lyric I particularly want to highlight goes a lil’ like this “hyperspace whores , kickin’ down doors, stealing your cock for their Satanic rock.” This track is fucking blast guys. Matt Pike is somewhere in his Icke-ian Lizard Kingdom dreaming up rolling thunder riffs like this (hopefully) for his next record. There’s a layer of fuzz slapped over the top of the ‘chorus’, only adding to the sexual tension from the Super Sluts. Listen to how the guitar solo rides the fuzzbass into a forbidden land…Erotique!
‘Gathering Panties’ follows, and an unusual guitar flavour is thrown into their primordial stew – the guitar sounds a little like an early SST Records band. Imagine that. But that doesn’t last long before a horns-in-the-air crusty bassline leads the track into Celtic Frost terrain, which is very pleasing to yours truly. There’s a progressive edge to this album that brings itself to the fore here, guitars twang and bang while the drums pound out the bleakest part of the record – all while the ‘singer’ hush-whisper-barks “Show us your panties show us your panties”. By the end you’re nodding your head, under the spell of these crusty fucks.
More crusty you say? More nasty? Next is ‘Shark Commando’, and it’s as close to First Wave Black Metal as I’m likely to get this year, the stench of the rotten Celtic Frost sound fills your head. My my. At the risk of becoming more and more hyperbolic until comparisons and complementary bullshit is beamed from my eyes 24/7 like Cyclops in X-men, I can only say that this track MUST be heard to believed (hear my plea, Shaman Lee.) I listened to this tune four or five times while writing this review – and the voice at the surf-music intro is still fucking creepy. I’m trying desperately to hold back on these comparisons, forgive me, but anybody that had their fancy tickled by Tom G Warrior as a young man will find themselves tickled all over (I certainly got tickled many a time by Tom. Metaphorically.) It only gets more hideous with ‘Swamp Gas Of The Nevermizer’, a buzzing wiggler about farting. There’s a solid three minutes of molten-rock dronery to contend with before a bit wobbly Sabbath solo section – complete with pounding bass and slashing guitar.
Rounding out the comedy contingent is the bonged-out ‘Crabs’. Do I need to tell you what that’s about? “Delicious with butter, look at them dance on sandy graveyards, invading your pants,” is just a sample of the gross-out poetry on offer with this tune. It’s got a semi-industrial, grinding vibe to add to the usual rifforama. Blackwitch Pudding saved their best tune til last. ‘Acid Castle Mountain Top’ is ten-minute condensation of the all of the previous tunes – except the room that they give the track to breathe increases its potency. None of the tracks on this release are short, by any means, but with ‘Acid…’ they delve into a black metal/doom vibe that they obviously do so well (and that I’d like more of on the next release folks, if you’re listening), complete with one of the nastiest sounding vocal deliveries you’re likely to hear this year. The vocals sound as though they have come from the depths of whoever’s bowels inspired ‘Swamp Gas…’ Truly heavy shit. It’s quite simply the best tune on the record, a lurching Frankenstein’s Monster of a monolithic slab of blackened doom. Disorienting and enchanting from the beginning, the guitar phases in and out of focus, the drums beating out a metronome of crunch.
I liked this record, folks. But I’m anxious not to damn it with faint praise. It’s a solid, sick-sounding record by some dudes who know what they’re doing, and know what touchstones fans of this kinda music look for. ‘Acid Castle Mountain Top’ does them a disservice, in the end, by outstripping all of the other tracks by dropping the comedy vibe and just belching out putrid riffs and horrendous vocals – taking it into darker territory than anything black metal’s new heroes Watain managed to dredge up for their record this year – and it is a truly imaginative and powerful way to finish their release. I just wish they were all like that.
I dig it.
Scribed by: Ross Horton