Support us by donating :)

Your ad here?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Review: King Witch - Under The Mountain

King Witch, what’s in a name, was formed in 2015 in Edinburgh, Scotland consisting of Jamie Gilchrist on guitar, Joe Turner on bass, Lyle Brown on drums and last but not least Laura Donnelly as vocalist. They have their musical boundaries set by, but not limited to a mix of old school heavy metal and classic seventies rock. They wasted no time and released an EP called Shoulders Of Giants in the blink of an eye. Despite them being a new band when it saw the light of day, it received overwhelmingly positive reviews, comparing the band’s work to the likes of a wide range of giants such as Black Sabbath, Mastodon and Candlemass. Surely flattering, but on the other hand it sets expectations very high for the future. Whether those expectations are met always remains to be seen, many a band has succumbed to the pressure of succeeding a great first release. This is the time to find out if these guys are here to stay, because they are now ready to give the world another taste of King Witch’s brew with their maiden full-length release called Under The Mountain.

One of the first things that comes to mind when opener Beneath The Waves blasts from the speakers indeed is the term ‘old school metal’. This is primarily due to the heavily set guitar work and the typical riffs. Vocal wise the work of Laura Donnelly perfectly suits this eighties flashback, her impressive throat is capable of matching about every heavy metal vocalist of that era you can think of. Of course having a great vocal range is one thing, knowing when and how to use it is a totally different ballgame. Well, rest assured Laura comes equally close to scoring a perfect 10 in that department as well. There is no such thing as perfection, but technically her vocals come awfully close. And then it all comes down to whether you dig her vocal style or not. I think many metal fans will, but for fans of the old school style this will be a real treat.

Having such a power house as vocalist inevitably draws a lot of attention to the vocal lines which might underexpose the contribution of the other three members. To avoid that you need seriously capable musicians to counter attack and optimize the songs and King Witch happens to have three such musicians among their ranks. All three of them score similarly high as the vocals in their respective fields of expertise. Jamie maneuvers his guitar strings at will, casting his riffs in whatever rhythm he sees fit, and the backbone of King Witch, consisting of the tandem Joe and Lyle, keeps things logical and coherent without containing it too much. The music, like the vocal lines, ranges from slow, almost held back to fierce, fast and powerful. A lot of time has obviously been put in construction and composition, which is clearly audible in every single song.

Under The Mountain brings you almost three quarters of an hour of modern played metal based on old school composing techniques. Almost every common heavy genre from back in the day is present in any form, some in complete songs, some only as a subtle influence expertly tucked away in a song structure. For example Possession and Carnal Sacrifice will make you relive the golden days of thrash, while Under The Mountain is a reminder to the pure heavy metal from the days of yore. There’s some doom to be found in Solitary and Approaching The End and even the obligatory power ballad makes an appearance in the form of Ancients with its bluesy undertones. So not only the music, but the entire structure of the album itself can be considered old school.

Now, as far as the earlier mentioned comparisons go, I do see and, more importantly, hear what they are based on, the influence of the aforementioned bands on King Witch’s music is unmistakable. However, the guys and girl of King Witch managed to merge all those influences into coherent, more or less unique sounding music, rendering those comparisons pretty much useless in my opinion. All you can extract from those comparisons is that this is a must-hear when you’re a fan of old school metal, but I think it could very well be considered a must-hear for many more fans of heavy music. Give it a shot and let this great release unfold itself.

Written by Henric van Essen

King Witch Facebook

No comments:

Post a Comment