Review: WitchTit ‘Intoxicating Lethargy’
Hailing from North Carolina, somewhere more known for its metalcore, WitchTit are a band whose sound is rooted in the old-school doom of Trouble, Cathedral and St.Vitus, among others, but with an unmistakably modern spirit. Rather than the sorrowful approach of other modern-day classical doom bands, like Pallbearer or Khemmis, WitchTit have a different energy, one that feels dramatic and insistent and with a closeness to pre-Sabbath bands like Blue Cheer, Sir Lord Baltimore and Coven, an influence that doesn’t appear too often in modern doom
The band rather honourably take their name from the phrase ‘cold as a …’ and the origins it has in the misogynistic persecution of women as witches. It’s a refreshingly modern change of perspective on a history which has sometimes been unintentionally glorified in metal.
The album begins with Silver Tongue, a slow and powerful opener that combines chunky riffs and fuzzy tones with occult melodies and a sultry marching rhythm. The band aren’t afraid to jump forth from this hypnotic stomp though, as they push off into a faster groove with equally bombastic vocals. These dynamic divides are a defining feature of the record, and on Crimson Tide they are displayed more in intensity than velocity.
The hook is immediately catchy but is made even more addictive by the stunning vocals, which remind me of Alison Mosshart at her most vociferous. When the band turn things up a notch, we’re given a few more occult metal melodies and another dose of that fabulous stomping rhythm.
The title track takes things down a notch into a softer Windhand-esque number, with the shuffling beats, drawn out guitar lines and powerful bass exuding sorrow in every note. Unlike Dorthia Cottrell’s sombre breathy tones, the vocals still have that classic element of drama, bringing to mind singers like Jinx Dawson, Grace Slick and Robert Plant. The instrumental performances manage to balance intricacy with emotion, even when the band put pedal to the metal for the track’s final climatic movement.
[Traveller] has some exceptional hooks, particularly when the vocals and guitars align melodically, the energy flying out of these riffs is positively veracious…
Traveller begins at a similar slow pace, but the sorrow is replaced by something a little more suspicious. Suddenly the track kicks things into a bluesy doom jam, with the two guitars battling it out over which can do a better Gaz Jennings impression. The track has some exceptional hooks, particularly when the vocals and guitars align melodically, the energy flying out of these riffs is positively veracious.
The final track Home Invasion begins by adding some extra atmosphere to the tone, but for all its twisting riffs and harmonic turns the melodies do feel particularly familiar. However, there is so much dynamism in the track that any boredom the familiarity could have caused is mostly smashed away. The drums are raucous and animated, the vocals spirited and seductive, and the guitars are absolutely wild. It definitely feels like the band letting go of all their remaining ardour and unleashing a chaotic, yet well controlled aggression to close the album.
WitchTit have produced a fantastic debut album, one that pulls together vintage influences with modern dynamics and shows an array of influences that have been distilled into a refined and cultured brew. It isn’t a perfect album, and there’s a few occasions where the melodies do feel a little too close to others on the album, but the band usurp this with their vivid tones and dramatic performances.
Intoxicating Lethargy is a brilliant and enthralling listen, but what’s more it shows a band with the potential to fearlessly rear their heads from the crowded doom metal scene.
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Scribed by: Will J