“Witch Mountain”

By Dr. Abner Mality

With a name like Witch Mountain, you can be 100% sure that long psychedelic doom is on the menu. What makes this band a little different than the army of doom/stoner bands with “Witch” in the name is that they are have an unusually heavy blues influence in their music. I haven’t heard a bluesier doom record in recent years, even including the last Electric Wizard.

How much you like Witch Mountain will depend on your tolerance for heavy blues and soulful female vocals. Both are in abundance here. Singer Kayla Dixon has an almost Delta gospel twist to her singing here, although she can also do the more standard “witchy” singing and even harsh vocals. Gospel is another influence…the brief song “Hellfire” that’s a lead-in to the colossal “Nighthawk” sounds like it came from Mississippi cotton-pickin’ days.

Only 5 songs here. The bulk is taken up by “Nighthawk”, which is a pretty peculiar tune that starts off almost like a slight variation on Electric Wizard’s “Funerapolis” until it wanders into more gospel/bluesy territory and the ends with both harsh vocals and aggressive riffings. A very strange song. “Midnight” is choppy, hammering riffs with great female vocals, “Mechanical World” follows in roughly similar fashion and “Burn You Down” is a dreary, droning lament.

It’s really Kayla’s outstanding singing range that elevates this above the average. The actual songs I thought were fairly routine, but she puts so much emotion and demonstrates such a wide variety of styles that you can’t really stop listening to her.