Monday 19 June 2023



Seems we might be going through one of those periods when a certain country suddenly has a surge in creativity and starts to put out one great release after another, we have seen it happen with Sweden, we've seen it happen with Greece and we've also seen it happen with some of the South American countries and now we are seeing it happen with Finland, albeit on a somewhat smaller scale. Already this year we have had great albums from bands like Takezo I, Captain and Smoulder and now we have one from a combo going by the name of WitchTribe. At the time of writing this review Desert Psychlist was unable to find any information regarding the band and a quick Google search directed us to numerous social media pages for budding witch coven's but no Finnish metal bands. What we can tell you however is that the band describe themselves as "Devil seeking men on a path to enlightment" and their grooves are a unholy alliance of stonerized doom, swampy sludge metal and fuzz drenched heavy rock infused with an air of off-centredness and twistedness that seems a common characteristic of so many of the heavier Nordic and Scandinavian bands, but don't just take our word for it go give their debur "Fuzzropolis" a listen and find out for yourselves.

WitchTribe kick off their debut with "Fuzzropolis", the song that gave their album its title, the track begins life slow low and suitably heavy with crunching dank riffs reverberating loudly over sparse pounding percussion and for the most part the stays that way for its duration. Vocals for this song tell of a "city of demons" and a "place of power and might" and are delivered in clean monotonic tones that often edge toward guttural but never quite get there. Low slow musical dynamics combined with monotone vocal tones are of course nothing new in the world of doom but there is something about the way WitchTribe put the two together here that feels different, it's hard to say why it feels different it just simply does. If you were expecting an album with songs all bearing a similar dynamic then next track "Dreamwalker" will shatter those expectations, here we have a song that begins life raucous and rowdy with throaty vocal melodies bellowed out over a chugging proto-doomic groove decorated in Iommi-like guitar colouring but then at around the halfway mark transforms in to this weird but wonderful blend of heavy psych and post-rock, the song only reprising its initial  raucousness and rowdiness as it dashes towards its finale. "Meditation of Witchfinder" utilizes all the usual cliches associated with modern doom, i.e  sampled narrative, mournful vocals and chunky reverberating circular refrains, but avoids sounding generic thanks to it possessing a weird off-centred vibe that is again hard to describe but is nevertheless still there. Next track, "Apophis" is a song of two halves with its first half a deep dive into weedian territory and its second a full on in your face sludge metal romp boasting some delicious and delightful screaming lead guitar while its follow up, " Amare Diaboli", sees WitchTribe throwing all your favourite genres of doom into one big pot and vigorously mixing them all together. You may need to grab a partner for next song "Charming Rites of Rock'n'Roll", whoever it was who said you can't dance to doom might seriously have to rethink that statement after hearing this dank little nugget. After the brief intake of fresh air the previous track afforded us the band take us back into the murky mire with the not so cheery "Everyone is Dead", a monolithic tome spread out over eleven minutes that for its most part boasts a lumbering low slow and heavy stoner doom dynamic and is decorated in suitably monotone vocal tones, the song does shift up a couple of gears in its last quarter but not by too much, this is tune for those who like to close their eyes and sagely nod along rather than those who like to slam-dance and mosh. Final number "Hell is Everywhere" stays relatively in the same ballpark as its predecessor but with a touch more variation and colour in its groove, a groove closer to proto and traditional doom than it is to stoner doom despite the fact that its vocals remain very much in the canon of the latter.

There are times throughout WitchTribe's debut where the doom gets consigned to the backseat and we get a brief glimpse of the band as a straight down the line heavy rock band with psychedelic undertones, these occasions are rare but are welcomed as they serve as respite in a sea of crushing heaviness. Doom is of course the currency WitchTribe deal in but "Fuzzropolis" is not an album you could say is typical of the genre, there is an undercurrent of weirdness and off-kilter quirkiness running through each and every one of its eight songs, a weirdness and quirkiness that on first listen might come across as a little unsettling and unnerving but will, on subsequent listens, soon become nectar for the ears. 
Check 'em out ... 

© 2023 Frazer Jones

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