Band: King Witch
Album: Shoulders of Giants
Genre: Doom metal
For an EP that I have enjoyed as much as this one, it sure was difficult writing this review, and I’m not sure why. Part of it may be that with only three songs, there might just not be that much to say, but I feel like that’s not the case because I’ve written far more about far less with considerably less difficulty in the past. So let me just begin the review by getting the obvious stuff out first: this is the debut release of a Scottish doom metal band, and as far as doom EPs from 2015 go, this one is by far the best one I’ve heard.
Their style is unmistakably doom, and for some people doom is perceived to be something of a static genre with its characteristically slow and plodding riffs. But static would be the absolute worst way to describe this release as it’s one of the more dynamic metal releases I own. And I don’t mean that they, like a thousand other metal bands, happen to have some slow acoustic song tucked in their track list to give some appearance of variety. They didn’t do anything like that; the EP only has three tracks on it. Rather, they have mastered the ability to build on a sound organically, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly, but always to great effect.
The production is fairly clean, like a lot of traditional doom metal, and the guitars have a heavy and doomy feel to them, but they aren’t super fuzzed out or over compressed. In fact, they really would fit nicely on a heavy metal album. The massive doom sound on this album doesn’t come so much from the tone of the guitars as it does from the rhythm section as a whole, which dishes out layer after layer of ultra-thick riffs, fills, and arpeggios that creates an atmosphere dense enough to cut with a blade.
Besides the production, there are two specific things that really make this release truly excellent. The first is the vocalist, Laura Donnelly, who just has an incredible set of pipes that give every song on here an epic feel from beginning to end. And I know that the word epic gets thrown around a lot by metal reviewers, but I really mean epic. And no, I don’t mean that she sings that frilly operatic gothic garbage that is popular in a lot of female-fronted metal. I mean that she can belt out her lines every bit as well as Messiah Marcolin, with all the fullness and sonic power you can imagine. Add to that the well-crafted melodies and you have a very strong vocal component to this release that sets it head-and-shoulders above the rest.
The second thing going for this band is the percussionist. He’s absolutely perfect for this band; he knows when to ease up, when to glide along, and when to unleash on full auto with both hands. There isn’t any drum solo silliness in here, and you’re not going to hear any self-aggrandising acrobatics either. But that’s just it: he’s amazingly on point at doing his job and even though he’s not trying to draw attention to himself, you can’t help but appreciate how strongly he contributes to what makes this entire release so wonderfully heavy.
I wasn’t able to think of a specific band to compare them to, and perhaps that was one of my initial difficulties I had in writing the review in the first place. But if you like epic doom metal at all, just give this whole thing a listen; it’s only twenty minutes, and there isn’t a bad minute in the whole thing.
Check ’em out here: https://kingwitchband.bandcamp.com/releases