Acid Witch - Stoned
Hells Headbangers
Psychedelic Doom/Death
10 songs (40:43)
Release year: 2010
Acid Witch, Hells Headbangers
Reviewed by Charles
Nice to hear more from Acid Witch, whose Witchtanic Hellucinations was sleazily, sweatily enjoyable slab of psychedelic doom-death. The band is a bit like the younger, less stern brother of Hooded Menace, an unsurpriging connection given the involvement of the latter’s Lasse Pykko in this project. The backbone of both acts’ doom-death is very similar, based on mid-to-slow riffs which balance a heavy death metal crunch with a strong sense of groove. But Acid Witch are a highly distinctive proposition: one the one hand, those heavy riffs always seem to hint at kicking into a bluesy swing at any given moment, giving their music an infectious quality. But aside from this, and the (hardly unusual) drug references, the band has another particular trademark. Their music is perpetually submerged a steaming green vat of twinkling organ parping and bubbling-cauldron sound effects, providing a lurid 1970s horror ambience in which the band wallows luxuriously.

Those who heard Witchtanic Hellucinations will find the formula on Stoned pretty much unchanged. The cartoonish Witchy voice that opened the debut has been replaced by a stern narration of a Satanic rite, and if anything, this sets up a slightly more sinister first impression. That proves illusory, though, as I'm relieved to report that there’s nothing quite as profoundly disturbing as Witches Tits on here. But the writing feels a little more focused, with songs like Trick or Treat and Thunderous Hooves emerging as precisely-crafted headbanging machines with immense- if hardly tuneful- choruses. Closer Sabbath of the Undead is the heaviest I’ve heard Acid Witch sound: the funereal, quasi-baroque organ opening is splattered by a crushing, crushing- there is no other word for it- slow doom riff. They resurface later on to add a gleefully hammy gothic glow.

Those who enjoyed Witchtanic Hellucinations will almost certainly enjoy this, though they may see it as a bit of a retread (with some justification). These accusations can, to a degree, be warded off by the fact that Acid Witch inhabit an authentically unique niche in the doom scene. Their sound is always completely distinctive and, at its best, utterly irresistible. The highest compliment is to say that Stoned successfully negotiates the line trod by the best of the 1970s horror films that the band draws so much inspiration from: balancing raucous, shameless sleaze aesthetics with an underlying heavy grit.

Killing Songs :
Thundering Hooves, Sabbath of the Undead, If Hell Exists
Charles quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Acid Witch that we have reviewed:
Acid Witch - Evil Sound Screamers reviewed by Andy and quoted 74 / 100
Acid Witch - Midnight Movies reviewed by Andy and quoted no quote
Acid Witch - Witchtanic Hellucinations reviewed by Charles and quoted 74 / 100
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