Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Witches of God - The Blood of Others (album review)

Cover artwork by Tom Neely
There's just something about a complete package that rattles the fillings in one's teeth.  When the cover art meets the music at the right intersection, it's like old friends meeting perfectly on time never breaking stride and getting on their way.  It's like that creepy thing twins do when they exchange complex messages non-verbally or sense when their sibling is in danger, or the way animals know when an earthquake is coming before it happens.  It expresses the full potential of mind and body in musical from, something that is rarely glimpsed.  It's music that enters the body through the optic nerve going right to the amygdala and using it as a punching bag when the play button is pressed.  No, 'The Blood of Others' doesn't feature the greatest single piece of art you'll ever see, from either a design or aesthetic standpoint, but I'll be damned if it isn't just perfect for the music contained on this album.  And who doesn't like naked witches (engaging in a blood orgy on the flip)?

Witches of God are a brand new band from L.A. that hits on that pop meets doom ethic which has become popularized by such bands as Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats and Bloody Hammers.  Of course, Witches of God sound nothing like either of those bands and spins the general concept in their own inimitable way.  All of this makes Witches of God a band to not just listen to (that's a given), but also to watch for future developments.  They've got a lot going for them.  First off they stone and they doom, but also, they punk, they grind, they sneer and seethe, and they also shred (always a gigantic plus!).  They feature an iconic vocalist whose identity is not yet known to this reviewer, the band's roster not yet revealed.  They apparently have already gotten a big gnarly thumbs up from none other than Scott 'Wino' Weinrich himself, who puts in a guest vocalist appearance on "The Horror".  More than that, there's just a feeling with this band, something satisfying that, again, begins with the Tom Neely cover art and follows through, gaining momentum with each successive listen.  It's an intangible factor that can neither be bought nor bottled.

But what should listeners expect from this band?  Expect variation.  Expect to be surprised by some of the band's sides and nuances.  Expect just a touch of shock rock provided by that previously mentioned punk-like attitude.  It's not often one can say this about an album, but it certainly applies here: all the songs on this album sound different from each other, but more than that and most importantly, the band retains a solid and identifiable sound throughout.  It doesn't seem likely with an 8 track album that contains three songs titled "Devils", but take each of them for a spin.  They don't sound anything alike.  Thing is they're all awesome.  Psychedelia abounds, but it's a down-to-earth psychedelia, something dirtier and grittier than even what's found in the flower pots of love children.  Can it be called "Meth Psych"?  How about "Methamphetapsychedelia"?  Just rolls off the tongue doesn't it?  Check out the song "Higher Than the Heavens" for an example of what I'm talking about.  It's would be fair to say the band are practitioners of sleaze rock, but not all the time.  There are also little hints and clues of White Zombie hidden throughout.

The entire "Devils" suite is a true highlight, it's actually the thing I look most forward to hearing before I throw this thing on.  The albums opening pair comprise parts II and III, and things go from good to bad pretty much right away, from party time with the top down to tracking manically through the woods from one song to the next.  In these darker moods as those found in "Devils III" a goth like feel enshrouds the song like Dracula's cape.  Later on we get to part I and it's an equally intense trip, catchy chorus and insistent riff.  This suite showcases the best, doomiest sides of the band.  "Higher Than the Heavens" and "The Blood of Others" are also slower highlights.  "First Love" and Wino flavored "The Horror" are punkier, crustier cuts while "Chasing Coffins" throws everybody for a curveball with a plaintive, heartfelt and ultimately jangly ballad about friends long gone.

Facebook edited nipple-less version of the back cover art by Tom Neely
There are certain albums that absolutely must be heard all in one sitting, the new Jex Thoth album comes readily to mind (see the review I did at Sludgelord), this is not one of those albums.  With all the different sides and moods the band puts on display makes this the ultimate mixtape fodder.  It's albums like this that you end up getting a lot of longevity out of and this blog is all about value.  Some might see the variety 'The Blood of Others' has to offer and consider it to be a bit 'uneven' in places, I'm one of them.  Not to sound too mired in Orwell's concept of double-think but I also happen to think it's one of the band's biggest strengths.  I may not like every song on the album, but the ones that I do like, I'm way into them.  I could easily imagine others walking away from this thing with the same impression, only from the opposite end of Witches of God's spectrum.  Wooo, there's that synchronicity I talked about at the beginning again, the way two strangers who don't know each other and never met can like the same album equally as much and yet have the exact opposite amount of love for each individual track.  That's magic, Witches of God have it and aren't afraid to showcase their multifarious necromantic skills.

Highlights include: "Devils II" and "The Blood of Others"

Rating: 3.5/5

Total Run Time: 44:58

From: Los Angeles, California

Genre: Hard Rock, Doom, Stoner, Punk

Reminds me of: Bloody Hammers, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats

Release Date: May 30, 2013

Better Reviews:
Welcome to the Void
Ripple Effect

Witches of God on facebook

Witches of God official website

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