I find some LPs give you a lot to write about and some don’t so I won’t overstay my welcome too much writing about Witch by Witch from 2006, which I snapped up on pre-order import from the brilliant Tee Pee Records.
The first 15 seconds of opening track ‘Seer’ tell you pretty much most of what you want to know, its raw guitar could have come straight from some studio offcut of Master of Reality, or Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. Like many before and since, all four members of Witch carry Black Sabbath deep, deep in their veins; but this is no Kingdom Come job, Witch flaunt their influence proudly and unlike a lot of Sabbath worshippers focus not just on Sabbath’s heaviness, but their otherness too. ‘Seer’ is a great track, a doomy guitar line you just can’t shake from your consciousness, plodding heavily-hit drums and a vocalist (Kyle Thomas) who sings and howls with complete conviction. Lead guitarist Asa Irons is an excellent player, unflashy but excellent playing and riffing abound, along with all manner of phasing and flanging effects, which I get a bit muddld with. There is one bit of ‘Seer’ where it dies down in the middle and is just taken up by the bass and you can just sense the guitars spiralling down to get you … when the main riff hits again with the drums I punched the air and strapped on my trusty air guitar (after first ensuring no small children or pets were in the area).
The second track ‘Soul of Fire’ takes off like a dragster, propelled by more great drumming and some atmospheric soloing along the way and just explodes at the end. I won’t do every track but you know what you’re getting here by now and it’s a bit more than an excellent Sabbath impression. The second side dips a little, if you put the needle down on either ‘Rip Van Winkle’ or ‘Hand of Glory’ I’d be a little hard pushed to tell you which track was on. However Witch pull it all back together for the slower, menacing and atmospheric ‘Isadora’, which closes the LP. In the acoustic beginnig of the track you can hear half of the band’s roots in folk combo Feathers coming to the fore and when the guitar cuts in rudely with a crackle of valves around 2 and a half minutes in… I was up on my feet again.
The drummer who powers Witch (the band and LP) along so well, with real feeling, strength and swing? none other than a certain Mr J Masics returning to his first love.
137 Down. Only 1400 to go now.
This version of ‘Seer’ is about half-length and really not half as good as the LP version, but still.