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Ia! - 80%

Hemperor666, September 4th, 2011

Arkham Witch from where else but mother England, to me prove themselves worth a stout listen to any heavy metal or stoner metal enthusiast. It has a very classic fuzzed out guitar tone reminiscent of Bongzilla basically only in that aspect, it's very crunchy yet still blurry. If you love Ol' Howard Phillips like me than with a name like Arkham Witch you'd expect one badass riff after another, right? Well they pretty much deliver just that. Stoner thrash is a pretty accurate title, with lots of NWOBHM harmony lines throughout every song and then laden with doom. There are some solos here and there but those harmony lines are way more tasty. The drums are basic, but sound great. Fills are sparse but I really like it like that, theres some interesting snare-work every now and then. They (the drums) sound very realistic like a normal hard rock band you'd see at the pub, no jazzin' it up, straight forward and unrelenting. There's not a whole lot to say of the bass tone however. It's definitely there but never Maiden's out like say High Spirits might, they never really give you any meaty bass lines. Well maybe in the last song there's some very Sabbathian riffing in "Haydes".

Now, the vocals stand out. Essential really, vocals run together or suck ,8 times out of 10 with this genre especially. Not that death metal grunts or black metal screams don't but some times guitar wizardry or atmosphere out weigh a shitty vocalist. This guy has a unique thing going on it seems oddly Lovecraftian. Very mysterious and full of spooky character, and for that reason lend themselves to a Bal-Sagoth or even like a Gates of Slumber comparison. They have a very epic story teller feel, stories of The Ancients, stories of the majesty beneath calling in your dreams. That goes for every song except Suicide 75, which oddly enough is probably my favorite song on the demo with a Danzig worship approach I couldn't get enough of. However the for lack of a better term"goofy" vocals lend themselves to the subject matter much better than like Acid Witch or even Electric Wizard.

All in all I feel like this is a totally decent demo. I've had a lot of fun jamming it over and over because it's pretty short only like 36 minutes. It seems really heartfelt like they made it more for themselves more than anybody else which is something too many bands get away from, focusing too much on reception, or technicality, or production, or cover art, or budget, or what the fuck ever. It's great to hear a band just go for it and get on some classic riff worship. The Lovecraft theme might be played out, but not when done right it is a boundless mythology that is so intertwined with metal that it just gives it all a pulpy atmosphere that makes me feel like a 8 year old kid jamming War Pigs at midnight. The more I listen to it the more I want to bust out the boom box, grab some whisky and weed and burn a Necronomicon into the ground at the local cemetery, and that's pure.