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Witch Mountain > South of Salem > Reviews
Witch Mountain - South of Salem

Smoke Hazed Doom. - 76%

Andromeda_Unchained, April 8th, 2012

Witch Mountain play a smoke-hazed brand of doom metal with a dusty layer of archaic occultism deeply routed into the sound. This is their second full-length album, which dropped ten years after their debut and is available via the band's Bandcamp page for the price of however you deem fit, which is cool, and I would say South of Salem is totally worth at least a few of your well-earned notes.

The band's singer Uta Plotkin is a true talent, with a powerful voice sounding like a bizarre cross between Dio and Alannah Myles, with a warm tone and perfect for the slow and pounding backdrop the rest of the band presents. There's of course plenty of Sabbath influence to be had, which is hardly shocking considering this is doom. The riffs have a southern twinge to them, and I would say this boasts as much appeal to doom fans as it does to those of stoner rock. The lead guitar work is well done, and the tone has that vintage feel.

Tracks such as "Wing of the Lord" and "Hare's Stare" would make for suitable tunes to check out, although given the fact you can pay as little as you like for this album I'd suggest checking out the whole thing. At just under forty minutes it's hardly a massive investment of your time, and if you're at all a fan of 70's-style doom I think you'll find something to love here. Recommended.

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Soul Doom - 90%

FullMetalAttorney, May 31st, 2011

If you've read anything about Oregon's Witch Mountain, you may have thought, "Great, another female-fronted doom band." Whether you meant that as a good thought or a bad thought, you ought to reconsider them entirely.

Putting a woman in front of a doom band is usually a good idea, as higher-register voices stand out against the heavy grooves, giving balance and contrast to the music. That's why Ozzy worked so well for Sabbath. And sometimes a female-fronted doom metal band sounds just like you might expect: a female-fronted doom metal band. No suprises there. But Witch Mountain's new vocalist Uta Plotkin gives an entirely different spin on things.

She sings with soul, making the band equal parts Joplin and Sabbath. Like Iron Butterfly's almost-appearance at Woodstock, it feels like Witch Mountain should have been there, leveling the audience.

The old-school rock vibe is straight out of that heyday of rock music, and has a solid analog production to complete that sense. But it's transformed by crushing heaviness. In short, this is the absolute best proto-metal album that was never released when it should have been, 40-plus years ago.

The Verdict: South of Salem was released as a pay-what-you-want digital download on their Bandcamp, so it's as free as you want it to be. Its value is much greater than free. A truly unique sound.

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