I never really understood the importance of stating where a band are from when writing a review, but in this instance it’s worth mentioning that Iron Witch are from Liverpool – only to say that it’s little bonus when watching them live to hear Chris the vocalist go from screaming his eyeballs red, to saying “Nice one – cheers.” in a pronounced Scouse accent between songs.
Iron Witch have spent the two years since their formation earning themselves a place as one of the best-loved and most gut-wrenching, mosh-worthy live bands in the UK sludge scene. Two demos were released in late 2010, followed up with EP ‘Single Malt’ in the summer of 2011. The band’s obvious preference for short releases, and often on vinyl, is part and parcel of their embracing of a more punk approach and sound than southern rock song titles like ‘Booze Blues’ would suggest. The band cite references such as Void and The Melvins, influences which are apparent in their material to some degree, but the most common comparison made is EyeHateGod; and Iron Witch clearly worship at the altar of the New Orleans legends, but there’s nothing wrong with that – especially given that every band in the genre stole everything from Black Sabbath anyway.
Latest offering ‘Hangover Suicide’ is the best thing Iron Witch have released – both in terms of content and the title; the phrase ‘hangover suicide’ somehow just perfectly describes the sound and vibe of Iron Witch. First track “Death Was The Colour” opens things up with the requisite squealing feedback, and boots into a riff something like Scissorfight’s Backwoods, but all misanthropy and no swagger. The vocals throughout are ideal, sounding exactly like a man who is genuinely in the tight grip of serious anxiety and despair, and on top of everything else has just been sick… mostly blood. The track moves through more feedback into doom-it-up territory before kicking right off at the end with pretty classic sludge riffs but filtered through the speed and urgency of a hardcore band.
Title track and flip side of the record ‘Hangover Suicide’ starts with a much more off-kilter and playful approach to riffing, followed by a pretty abrupt descent into an almost trad doom nod-along before the track evolves into a total early Melvins-esque chug fest. And that’s the lot – two cracking tracks serving as the perfect backdrop to the crippling and horrible dejection that follows a night of serious booze abuse. You can pick the 7” up from the band or through Endtyme Records; and do not pass up the chance to see this lot play live – it’s meant to be heard loud and with succinct but casual statements of gratitude in a thick Scouse accent between songs.
Scribed by: Chris Moore