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Won't you guide my slaying tonight? - 70%

autothrall, June 17th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2018, Digital, Independent

Dave Slasher's last Acid Witch EP was this really great idea that involved covering four Halloween-worthy hard rock horror movie tracks, but unlike a lot of others, who lavished praise upon it, I was just not a fan of the actual execution, even though I I was a fan of some of the original fare it was based upon, and appreciated that such songs would get some attention. Hey, nobody can question the guys' taste. This newer Black Christmas Evil EP is a similar idea, only with another particular Holiday theme, and shorter at only two tracks. This time, the presented material is original, and like a lot of the band's full-lengths, much more to my liking. I rather dug how it felt like a continuation of their very solid, original 2017 album Evil Sound Screamers, only trussed up in a Santa outfit.

So yeah, hideous lo-fi death/doom drudging that sounds enormous despite those factors. I love the integration of the cheery keyboard lines which feel like they were taken off some incidental Xmas record, or some cheesy mid-90s black metal band like Ancient. The vocals are gruesome snarls that are heard well above the music itself, and the overall atmosphere is suitably fun and still heavy. I wouldn't call the riffs in this one their best, but they are dynamic and groovy enough in a succinct tune like this to keep you from growing bored. The second tune, "Christmas Evil (You Better Watch Out!)", was my preferred of the two, opening with a sample from the trailer of the 1980 film of the same name, but then going into this classier doom structure. Lyrically, yes, each of the tracks is based on the eponymous slasher films, which is really par for the Acid Witch course and one might even hope they do a lot more such 'theme' EPs since there's a lot of turf to cover in the horror genre.

There's not a lot of meat on the victims' bones here, but it's a two track EP for $2 on Bandcamp, so there's not much cause to complain, especially when they're well enough written that they could have appeared on Evil Sound Screamers. I think the love of these films shines through in just about everything Dave Slasher and friends put out, and since my own fondness for campy old horror flicks has only grown with age it's something I look forward to. I'd also take the opportunity here to plug his solo synth/score project, which is really well done.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! - 50%

MetalMegalomania, May 9th, 2019

Two things that certainly don’t blend well are Christmas and metal music. From the happy holiday cheer, overplayed Christmas tunes, and forced smiles, something about the whole event just makes me want to be alone. I don’t know, maybe I’m a psychopath. At least I’ve got Acid Witch’s surprise Christmas EP to keep me company.

Acid Witch is probably the only band capable of releasing a successful Christmas-themed metal output, or at least one that isn’t just Christmas songs played with electric guitars. Our freaky friends really went all-out with this one with the inclusion of humorous samples and holiday-themed keyboard usage. There are two tracks on Black Christmas Evil, and they both offer fairly different vibes.

“Black Christmas” features some clever sampling at its beginning and tail end, and absolutely delivers from the moment the music starts. Opening with a killer riff paired with a repeating piano lick, this deadly combo should get any fan’s jollies jumbled. However, the track takes a turn when the band’s traditional guttural vocals are replaced with some soft-spoken segments that make me feel like I’m listening to a Korn album. I really hate to say it, but the eerie vocals coupled with repeating underlying riffs don’t really do it for me, and really harken back to the aforementioned band’s style. The chorus on “Black Christmas” is fairly catchy, though.

The song is a play on the whole “he knows when you’ve been sleeping” Santa Claus jingle, but the band takes the theme to a whole new level, provoking the idea that the mythic being is a crazed lunatic spying on his victims. I dig the theme, but the musical elements of this particular track don’t really do it for me.

“Christmas Evil (You Better Watch Out),” the EP’s sister track, follows an entirely different thematic and sonic direction. The opening sample features an older male describing how Santa will unleash hell upon his followers if they misbehave, and ultimately gives off a Black Mirror/Twilight Zone effect. The individual’s tone of voice makes it sound like a ‘60s sample, ultimately achieving a vintage atmosphere surrounding the track. I’m in.

This song reintroduces Acid Witch’s infamous vocal styles, with a healthy back-and-forth between a guttural doomlike vocal style and another similar to a witch’s voice. The two approaches pair together during the vocal segments to create a pretty cool sonic dynamic. The elements on this track work much better in assembly in comparison to the opening number, thus rewarding it the title of being my favourite song on the EP.

We’re not in the clear yet, however. “Christmas Evil (You Better Watch Out)” isn’t completely free of plague, as its opening and closing audio samples shorten the track’s runtime by quite a bit, resulting in a truncated song length. I feel like this track could have benefitted from a few more musical repetitions, but its still a good number.

I’m not the biggest fan of this release. While the endeavour to make a Christmas-themed metal EP is undoubtedly a daunting task, I expected a little more from this wonderful quartet of guys. I was honestly debating reviewing this one, as its just a fun little release that doesn’t really need to be dissected and branded with an arbitrary number. I’m more-so writing about this one to spread the word, as it at least deserves a listen. I do have a weird feeling that this effort will fall into obscurity due to its seasonal nature and its lacking replay ability, but I would enjoy listening to it in some sort of compilation featuring all of the band’s various non-album songs that they’ve released over the years.

Horrifying Christmas Doom - 90%

Feast for the Damned, March 27th, 2019

Acid Witch has always been one of my all time favorite bands, they mix death/doom with psychedelic stoner elements like no one else. Since the release of their debut full-length their sound has definitely changed a lot. The album is filled with the sound of synth, just like in "Evil Sound Screamers" which surprisingly fits their psychedelic death/doom sound. While there is only 2 song on this EP both songs deliver the expected quality from the band.

"Black Christmas" starts off with a messy intro (just like many other Acid Witch songs), which makes the song have the wicked and scary atmosphere that we all know and love Acid Witch for. The crushing death/doom riff hits you right after the intro is over complemented with the synth magic that Slasher Dave is delivering.

"Christmas Evil (You Better Watch Out!)" starts out in a similar fashion, but a major difference here is that the song is more like the early records: death/doom riffs the whole time and no synth until the end. This is a real treat for someone like me who worships the first 2 record.

The vocals on Acid Witch records have always been scary to a certain extent, but this EP takes it to the next level. This is generally the most horrifying Acid Witch record so far. Overall, this EP is the best showcase of their early and new approach to the genre they are representing, but it could have been a bit longer.

Sadistic Santa Slays 'em All - 82%

Neheroth, February 28th, 2019

Acid Witch are one of the more prominent acts within the current death/doom sub-genre. Infusing the psychedelic sounds of the 60's with the Sabbath driven doom and Asphyx old school death sound of the early 90's. The band took nearly a decade hiatus from their second album Stoned, with only an EP and a few splits here in there to keep the withdrawal cravings away, until the release of their third album Evil Sound Screamers in 2017. Their sound has evolved since the early days, leaning towards a more synth-driven sound that Black Christmas Evil continues from their latest album.

"Black Christmas" opens with an eerie sample straight out of slasher flick before unleashing a torrent of acid soaked riffage, peppered with a wonderfully creepy synth melody. "Christmas Evil (You Better Watch Out!)" starts out in the same fashion, a schlocky 80's video nasty sample followed by a crushing stoner infused death riff and I especially enjoy the slower guitar bridge with the more guttural vocal style, followed by some subtle double bass kicks on the drums.

The release is entwined with the wonderful synth melodies employed by Slasher Dave and its these synth lines that have really catapulted Acid Witch into their prime, merging the horror synth sounds of John Carpenter and Goblin with psychedelic death/doom is orgasmic. The guitar and bass are left to focus on the chunkier, slower melodies that form the base of the mix, whilst the drums sit at the bottom of the mix allowing for some subtle use of slow snare patterns, combined with short and sweet double bass kicks. The vocals are superbly elected, switching back and forth between a raspy witch-esque tone to a deeper more typically death metal guttural noise, which helps keep the sound fresh.

In all Acid Witch have struck festive gold with this EP and whilst it is perhaps not as inspired as Evil Sound Screamers it is still worth listening to particularly if you are looking for more songs from their discography in a similar vein. Christmas comes with evil this year and Acid Witch are the harbingers of bloodstained sleigh bells, hallucinogenic treats and bone shattering grooves from beyond the pine tree graveyard.