By Earthdog

Acid Witch are back with their follow-up full length album to 2008's "Witchtanic Hellucinations" album titled "Stoned." In 2008, Acid Witch blew some new life into the scene with their very tongue firmly in the cheek tales of Halloween and Witches. The sound was fresh, incredibly heavy and creepy but most importantly, it was an infectious blend of Doom, Death, Psychedelia and cheesy Horror movie soundtracks. Proving that they were more than just a simple novelty act, they released two EP's, "Witch House" and "Midnight Mass," both of which continued in the same style but most people were expecting them to progress somewhat with their next full-length album. After all, those other Horror-Metal fiends Hooded Menace showed they were more than just a one-trick-pony with their second album titled "Never Cross The Dead" that showed some progression in both songwriting and performance. So Acid Witch were expected to follow a similar path. Sadly this album doesn't do that at all as it is the same sound, same style and in many ways it just recycles the "Witchtanic Hellucinations" album.

The packaging is great as is expected with an Acid Witch release...the album art is awesome and the vinyl version comes in a lovely swirled Orange and Black slab of wax with an 18" X 24" full-color poster of the cover art and an old school Acid Witch Halloween die-cut decoration piece. "Witchtanic Hellucinations" was a very popular album that got that way mainly from major leakage all over the Internet so I hope this new album doesn't suffer the same fate. So what can you say about "Stoned"  well there is no doubting it is Acid Witch. As soon as you press play, you are know what you are in for. It is maybe just too predictable even for a Acid Witch album but hey, this is still a hellish example of deathly, horror, death-doom that very few bands can match. Predictable or not, this band is one of the most seriously crushing acts the world of death and doom-metal has ever heard and "Stoned" will be hugely popular among riff-freaks everywhere.

One look at the song-titles suggest a shift away from singing about witches and bubbling cauldrons. The opening intro piece "Satanic Faith" begins with another one of the bands trademarks, the creaky old organ ,and on this occasion it plays something similar to many horror-themes with a voice-over about Satanists. This is quickly over and out and we are into "Witchfynder Finder" and it takes off with a insanely catchy riff and soaring lead-work. It is a bit more up-tempo than the usual Acid Witch dirges of the past and the lyrics of course mention "Hopkins," the witch-finder general himself. The guitar sound is as brutally fuzzy as ever with the gurgling vocals are at their most menacing. This album has a production improvement over "Witchtanic Hellucinations "with the guitar being more finely balanced in the mix...there are not as many over-powering leads flattening out the rest of the sound.

 "Trick or Treat" is a horror-fueled, melodic track with the rusty ancient organ sounding like it is about to self-destruct in the beginning of the track. The bone-charring riffing is thicker than molasses but again ithe infectious nature of this tune that ultimately wins you over. On this song, their love for "Halloween" is clearly the focus with lyrics like "Die cut witches, ghouls and skulls, A graveyard on my lawn, My house is dressed up for Halloween, The most elaborate on my street." As you can tell, they haven't reduced the cheese factor in any way but that is the whole point. Acid Witch are saying f**k you to all these overly serious metal-types that somehow think they are all so Satanic, Acid Witch are taking the piss and having a lot of fun doing it. If you can't see the humor, see a doctor, you need help( I am just the guy to help!---Doc Mality). "Thundering Hooves" is another heavy-ass song with more spoken-word samples, this time about naked bodies and witchcraft. It is a mid-tempo chuganaut that is irresistible in its head-banging value and the tune bubbles along with an infectious rhythm and groove.

"Live Forever" has the charming lyrics, "Whore nun, C**t of Christ, Give us your soul, Invert the cross you hold" and of course they have to insert the line, "Inhale the smoke of this burning herb." Obviously, they can't be serious with their ramblings of evil but one thing they are deadly serious about is drugs, drugs and more drugs. "Live Forever" is another groove-based psychedelic doom track with more of that geriatric organ that actually does a solo in this tune but it is still about the majestic crushing riffing that is beyond infectious. You can't mistake the lead-work either, it is oh-so typical Acid Witch and there is times where I feel  he is playing the same lead-runs from the first album but it doesn't really matter, this tune kicks ass anyway. "Whispers in the Dark" is the shortest track on "Stoned" after the opening intro cut, lyrics consist of "Lock the doors, I'm Coming, Listen, Shhhhh." The cinematic horror-vibe is omnipresent throughout the album but especially on this 3 minute spook-fest.

"If Hell Exists" is also a chilling piece of death-doom, the atmospheric opening build up sets the mood before it takes off into an early 80's N.W.O.B.H.M kind of melodic metal. In this song, they proudly sing "my sanity is metal" and you better believe it, too. This track gets my vote for the worst track overall on the album though... something about it doesn't gel despite some nice guitar melodies. "Stoned to the Grave" is the most adventurous track, especially in the lyrical department that seem to sum up everything that Acid Witch stands for. This would make the perfect opening song for a live-show with its anthemic vibe and musically it has every element that the band is renowned for. Crushing riffs, soaring leads, infectious melodies and the growling vocals that somehow managed to be strangely catchy and melodic. This track also features the most memorable lead-break on the album proving once again that as musicians, this 2 piece is highly underrated.

The song with the best title has to go to the next track, "Metal Movie Marijuana Massacre Meltdown" and it has the classic lyric, "Seen these movies so many times, Turn off the volume cause I know all the lines, So fucking high, just let the stereo play, But only if its Lizzy Borden or Fastway." Yes, these dudes love their 80's metal and this track is a doozy. Not only does it rock but if this doesn't put a grin on your face, you need to lighten-up dude, seriously!! The last track on the album and one of the longest tunes is "Sabbath of the Undead" that brings nothing new to their cauldron of death-doom but it is a satisfying chugging tune with great melodic breaks and more of those trademark memorable vocal lines. Without a doubt Acid Witch have made a niche for themselves, no one sounds quite like them and I guess how much you like this album depends on whether you have heard them before. I say that because it is more of the same for Acid Witch so it is predictable but "Stoned" does have one thing slightly different going for it and that is it is more up-tempo overall than "Witchtanic Hellucinations" and maybe even more comical. The serious doom-head might not see the funny side to the madness this band projects but I find it to be nothing but "pure fun" with enough killer riffs to go nuts over anytime of the day. It is infectious, catchy metal but played with the heaviest of crunchy guitar sounds and some of the most ghastly vocals ever recorded. They are unique and if there is anything such as "party-doom" then Acid Witch are indeed the kings of the genre......................8.5/10