Witch Mountain

Cauldron of the Wild

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Metal is often at its best when it's trailblazing, exploring the edges of the musical landscape and discovering the scariest, most frighteningly untouched territories to ever be experienced by ears human or otherwise. With the genre spending so much time looking forward, it makes it hard for anyone mining the past for inspiration to get a foothold in the rapidly changing musical landscape. Fortunately for metal, and really anyone who enjoys really loud music, doom classicists Witch Mountain continue their recording revival with their third album, Cauldron of the Wild. Having tapped into a seemingly bottomless well of bluesy, fuzzed-out riffage, the Portland band perfectly evoke the sludgy darkness of classic doom while elevating it with their not-so-secret weapon, singer Uta Plotkin. Rather than attacking the lyrics with a savage growl, Plotkin's smoky voice adds a layer of haunting sensuality to the songs as her vocals soar above the shuddering sonic quagmire laid down by the rest of the band. While this sometimes causes an odd contrast between the crystal clear vocals and the sludgy music, it's a minor issue that is completely forgivable in the face of crawling epics like "Aurelia" and "Never Know," which take full advantage of doom's glacial sprawl to take listeners on an 'amps to eleven' psychedelic journey. Songs like these prove that Witch Mountain isn't a one-trick pony, but a band of kindred spirits apparently put on this Earth to create jammy doom, making the world just a little bit heavier one album at a time.

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