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Acid Witch - Witchtanic Hellucinations (9/10) - USA - 2008

Genre: Doom Metal / Psychedelic / Death Metal
Label: Razorback Records
Playing time: 44:03
Band homepage: Acid Witch

Tracklist:

  1. Intro
  2. Into The Cave
  3. Swamp Spells
  4. Witchblood Cult
  5. The Black Witch
  6. Witchtanic Hellucinations
  7. Beastly Brew
  8. Cauldron Cave
  9. Rabid Werewitch
  10. Realm Of The Wicked
  11. Witches Tits
  12. Broomstick Bitch
  13. October 31st

Vincent Price; Peter Cushing; Christopher Lee; Elvira, Mistress of The Dark; The Crypt Keeper; Ishirô Honda; Roger Corman; George Romero; John Carpenter – If all of these names conjure fond memories, then ACID WITCH have created the perfect Metal soundtrack for your nostalgia.

 

Taking their inspiration from classic horror movies and television, ACID WITCH deliver a punishing, spaced-out, yet not-entirely-serious brand of Doom that is both ugly and infectious. And while the horror theme has been done ad nauseum by so many bands before, this release offers a fresh (or, more accurately, retrospective) take that jaded fans should enjoy and appreciate.

 

Several characteristics compete for the listener’s immediate attention. Most obvious is the nostalgic vibe that runs through the entire album. ACID WITCH eschew the splatter conventions of modern horror, and opt instead for the monster imagery of yesteryear. The tendency here is to move away from the revolting and toward the morbid and disquieting. Modern slasher villains find no home on this album. Instead, “Witchtanic Hellucinations” plays host to the horrific outcasts of an earlier generation – monsters, werewolves, and especially witches. This is the stuff of Saturday morning matinee showings on local television, and frankly, is horror material that is infinitely more creative than the gross-out torture porn of today.

 

Enhancing the nostalgic focus of the subject matter is the liberal use of psychedelic organ and spacious production quality. The guitar work here is gritty, and the riffs provide a solid backbone, but it is the organ, with its hallucinogenic pulse and meandering rhythms, that gives these songs their mind-bending impact. Similarly, the back and forth between left and right speakers on some of the guitar leads, particularly on “Beastly Brew,” is reminiscent of some of the studio machinations made available to the early Acid and Psychedelic artists as stereo and quadraphonic technology continued to evolve in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The effect on the listener is visceral, creating a sensation that is distorted and disorienting.

 

Of course, all the focus on Psychedlia would mean little to the Metal fan of the guitars did not provide sufficient power, and here ACID WITCH deliver faithfully. The riffs are grimy, yet atmospheric. Plenty of sliding up and down the neck give the songs a bit of a Stoner vibe, and preserve some melody amidst all of the atmosphere.

 

“Witchtanic Hellucinations” is a brilliant debut from a band with a strong underground ethic. The sound is punishing, yet cerebral. This is the perfect juxtaposition of Metal and classic horror.

(Online June 15, 2010)

Steve Herrmann



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