Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Swamp Witch : "the Slithering Bog"
The hunger for new doom awakens just in time for me to dip into the new album from Oakland's Swamp Witch. The vocals are a low death metal growl, but everything else paints the perfect picture of doom. From the first song I am delighted to hear that the album cover perfectly matches the murky darkness being dragged from these sonic waters. The first song is just under seven minutes, but blends atmosphere with out relying on drone to compensate for a lack of songwriting chops. The vocals are more of an abrasive layer of white noise, with the guitar carrying the serpentine melodies that are draped over the other wise dirge like plod. On "the Marsh of Delusion" they begin to fall into the more conventional realms of death doom. That is not to say it's not powerfully expressed as it is, it's just that the balance they achieved with atmosphere and melody is not as apparent so it loosens the grip on the more original sound they carried on the first song.
The pace picks up for "Slither Into the Circle' which is growled in a more powerful manner that makes you wonder if this is just perhaps slowed down death metal. Then the more melancholy guitar line reminds you what separates the two genres. By the time you get to "Bayou Tomb" everything is beginning to get the same kind of sluggish chug, but to their credit the band doesn't drag the songs out to excess, almost making it feel more sludge like in places. Midway into "Dead Root" the atmosphere they touched upon on the first song is rediscovered. They close the album out with a more melodic passage that leads into " Lost Symbols". The vocals keep at the same attack they have delivered for most of the album with the guitar really carrying the song on this. There are a few places throughout the album where the bass or the drummer have been impressive, but the guitarist is clearly driving the car here. I like the mood that is created here, I'll round it up to an 8.5, but I'm not sure if I need this in my iPod. Still if you are looking for some new doom, these guys are more than worth your time, one of the best doom releases of the more death metal tinged variety that I have heard this year.