Where do you start with one of the most eagerly anticipated albums to the stoner rock/doom scene at the moment? Witch Charmer‘s latest release The Great depression has been advertised as being an occult rock classic. It is aptly named with its wave after wave of heavy tones that ring throughout the whole album. The album has been released in a crucial time for metal, especially with the recent flourish in female fronted doom/retro doomster bands on the scene, think Witch Mountain, Purson, The Devils Blood, Acid King, Jex Thoth to name a few.
Suffer brings in the album with its barrage of Blood Ceremony vocals that flow nicely with the tones of the guitar work, and very solid rhythmic movements, its generally quite a pleasant ordeal until the drunk karaoke vocal ramblings from the bands male counterparts comes roaring in like an intruder.
The song just loses its momentum, The Cull again starts off promising, Kate McKeown’s delivery is like another series of gritty Jefferson Aeroplane similarities that are interrupted by rude vocals harmonies with the other band members, this time going for an almost pirate leer.
Halfway through the album there is a vein hope it might pick up vocally, the music has been pretty hard to knock as it’s got the standard format of clever construction. A Watching Of Wolves breaks out into almost sassy and more confident vocals from Kate, but again she’s being pushed down by the doom Lacuna Coil vibe going on.
Thankfully second to last track seems to have got it together, To Death (I’ll Drink) starts off with a slow and enchanting bass line that kicks the pace up a bit with a nice solid introduction that gets to showcase the majestic musical skills going on behind the scenes. Even the vocal harmonies are working with a pure duality rather than working against each other heard previously, there is anger and passion that makes it an interesting listen.
The last and most interesting song of the album, Stare Into The Sun which features Tony Reed (Mos Generator/Stone Axe) who also mixed and mastered the album. This outside influence was sorely needed as it shows what the band are capable of but just need to work on more.
The album does have points that are rich in flavour, with the use of blurry guitars, harsh bass lines and charging drumming but the vocals don’t sit on top as well as they could. There are moments where they work and create a tapestry of storytelling but these are soon broken by cackle wails that jar against the main harmonies.
Scribed by: Ashlinn Nash