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Midnight Mass is the second EP to come from the cauldron of psychedelic horror duo, Acid Witch. Previously signed onto Razorback Recordings, this EP marks the first release from the band after being signed onto Hells Headbangers Records and acts as a teaser to their second full-length album, Stoned.
The introductory track isn't too variant from previously released material, an eerie organ plays hauntingly before a PSA begins, leaving the synthesized organs to dwindle down to background noise. Giving the effect of being played on vinyl, the track purposely skips at the most appropriate times, embedding an emphasis on witch burnings and of course, the dark lord Satan as the PSA addresses occult acts and black arts.
The title track, "Midnight Mass", comes on in the beginning as a crushing explosion of raw, gritty, Black Sabbath inspired doom riffs. However, with this being said there isn't a whole lot of innovation and the riffs start to sound recycled about a minute into the song, along with some of the synthesizer work. To keep this from coming off too stale, there are a few refreshing bridges within the song, and there is a pretty decent guitar solo.
Although this EP is still just as lo-fi in sound quality as previously released material, it fits Acid Witch's style nicely and is a welcomed constant. However, one element that is noticeably off on this track are the vocals, which sound muddy and it feels as if they are fighting to keep dominance over the drums, bass, guitars and layers of keyboards. Due to this, some of the lyrics seem to get lost among the grit and grime.
Lyrically, this song and the one that follows after are the darkest and most perverse tracks ever released by Acid Witch.
"Your unholy passions under my spell
Pervert yourselves before me and fuck your way to hell"
The last song, "To Magic, Sex and Gore", is the most original song presented within this material. Introduced by organ keyboards, it is apparent that the duo get a lot of inspiration from horror master John Carpenter. This track has a fresh and catchy keyboard riff during a bridge after the chorus, which sounds unlike anything Acid Witch have done prior. The vocal track also doesn't sound as drowned out in this song, and the lyrics don't get lost in the swamp of psychedelic additives.
Midnight Mass is a very mediocre release, even for an EP, and is easily passed over since the full-length Stoned was released about a month afterward. However, the material presented here shows us a much darker, twisted and perverted side to Acid Witch that hasn't been explored in any other material and that in itself makes it worth a listen.
- Villi Thorne