If I had a penny for every time I’ve read, heard and even written the phrase “occult metal” throughout the past 18 months, I suspect I’d have nearly enough dough to buy out a small Middle Eastern oil company, or even get a copy of Electric Wizard’s ‘Dopethrone’ on deluxe vinyl. Probably not both though… decisions decisions. New Haven, Connecticut’s fist-pumping trio Nightbitch are the latest act to lend themselves this same such moniker, but choose to wear their inverted crosses to the right-hand-sides of their chests where they’ve been swept aside by the SLEAZY rock n’ roll lifestyles they must surely lead. The band first smashed straight down the back doors of your local whorehouse with their 2010 debut ‘Sex and Magic’ EP, which featured the ever-stunning vocals of doom legend Phil Swanson (Hour of 13, Seamount, Vestal Claret and about 379 other, probably “occult metal”, bands). With Swanson now having departed their ranks, it’s with intrigue that I dive into the handcuffs-at-dawn orgy of a follow-up EP entitled ‘Chainmaker’, which curiously features a line-up comprising all the former live members of Hour of 13 who aren’t Chad Davis.
Opener ‘Chainmaker’ does indeed follow the stated mission statement: to enchant the notion of “wicked women, unholy passions and fire nights”. Drummer/vocalist Chris Taylor’s baritone wail couples well with Mark Else’s sultry basslines to provide a slicked-back-quiff take on doomy rock n’ roll; a bit like a classier, harder rock version of Volbeat. Ryan Adams’ guitar tone is pure sex – his casual riffs buy you a drink then take you upstairs whilst his solo unbuttons your blouse in seconds. Calling any of what Nightbitch do as ‘doom’, ‘sludge’ or ‘blackened dirge’ isn’t doing any justice to the fun-time levels of simple heavy metal that the threesome splatter across the bedsheets… So I’ll politely refrain from doing so!
Speaking of unbuttoning, second original track ‘Disrober’ picks up the second princess of the night right around the corner from where the first was dropped off. There are hints of Sabbath, Pentagram, ‘Priest and even Clutch alongside the crotch-stuffed gymnastics of Whitesnake and Motley Crue in the stomping lead riff as Taylor taps impatiently at his ride cymbal before growling his seductive sermon down the mic.
Closing out with a stomping cover of Deep Purple’s classic ‘Into the Fire’ from the ‘In Rock’ album (yeah, that one with the band givin’ it the old Mount Rushmore) is a bold move for a stopgap release, but Taylor nails the vocal lines solidly. Not “Hello, I’m the new Ian Gillan” solid, but pretty decent none the same. The track is a good fit for the band’s tight, barfly sound, but they don’t deviate at all from the original version, which only makes me wander over to my CD tower to hunt out ‘In Rock’ itself rather than trawl through the sex dungeons of the internet looking for my next Nightbitch hit.
‘Chainmaker’ comes as a one-sided 12” vinyl (why are we wasting a whole side of vinyl here people?!) via One Ear Records, and if you like your grooves vintage, lacy and firm to the touch, it’s well worth a cheeky punt. That said, it’s not exactly a mind-shattering orgasm of revolutionary new music either and so it may be wiser to hang on to see what Nightbitch’s immanent debut record brings to occult metal’s strip-Twister board first. Either way, I’m a good few pence further towards my target after that! Oil rigs or vinyl? Flowing black gold or ‘Funeralopolis’? Hmmmm…
Scribed by: Pete Green