Bart M. : I am sitting here in one of the smaller rooms on the upper floor, the lonely, small window is ajar and an icy draft capriciously but determinedly blows in. A single sliver of moonlight shines upon the empty piece of parchment in front of me. The only other source of light on this dark, forsaken night is the scented black candle I just lit. Its scent, that of freshly dug graves, is being scattered across the room by the cold breeze. I sigh and reach for the goblet of dark red wine. Or is it?
Having initiated the right circumstances, I find myself ready to listen to the new Dead Witches album. A number of things have changed for the band since recording their debut album Ouija, and not all of them are pleasant. Guitarist Greg Pearson has sadly turned his back on the lands of the living and singer Virginia Monti left the band to pursue her other musical projects. Oliver Hill and Soozi Chameleone respectively filled up the empty places and joined Mark Greening (who by now has attained cult status) and Carl Geary to work on The Final Exorcism.
Just as soon as the first notes hit my ear drums a solid grin is instantly chiseled across my face and I realize Dead Witches are not dead at all. A warm glow surprises me as I let the fuzzy doom and heavy riffs wash over me and very soon I find myself immersed in a world of dark graveyards, church corruption, priestly fallacies (or phallacies) and demonic possession. Each song has something very familiar, meaning it radiates that same vintage sound Electric Wizard started, yet each of them are based on new and fresh riffing and melodies, accompanied by solid percussion. It is a hard thing to admit when you have a crush on miss Monti, but the band has found a more than adequate replacement in Soozi Chameleone. In the first song we hear vocals that somewhat correspond to those on Ouija, perhaps as a way to make the transition easier to swallow. After this we hear Chameleone giving an entirely unique approach to the singing and she does so very enthusiastically, spontaneously and originally, in a way that suits the delicious, compelling and recurring rhythms perfectly.
I mentioned Electric Wizard, which should not be a surprise knowing that Greening is one of their founding members, and even though the influences are noticeable beyond a doubt, Dead Witches should definitely not be seen as an extension of that band. They have a distinctly different sound and it feels more like an evolution that decided to head in a different direction than the Wizard did. With The Final Exorcism Dead Witches make their presence undeniably known, and where Ouija is an album on which they appear to be still searching for a definite sound, this one puts them solidly on the map. Begone, ye merry gentlemen!