Witch

Witch

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Many admirers of '80s-era indie rock will always consider Dinosaur Jr. to be toward the top of the heap -- thanks to such classic releases as 1987's You're Living All Over Me and 1988's Bug. However, guitarist J Mascis always was a classic rocker at heart -- his melodic yet fuzzy solos were equal parts Neil Young and Ace Frehley. So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Mascis' early-21st century side project Witch could easily be mistaken for a heavy metal release -- in the Black Sabbath mold. The only thing is, Mascis does not play guitar on their 2006 self-titled debut, as he returns to his first instrument, drums. But Mascis assembled quite a rockin' cast around him -- his longtime pal Dave Sweetapple (bass), as well as Kyle Thomas (vocals) and Asa Irons (guitar) from the New England-based "avant folk" band Feathers. What you get is an incredibly raw, doom metal-esque release (certainly not the kind of "modern-day metal" you'll find on MTV or radio), which is chock-full of simply ripping leads from Irons. As with most bands of this genre, tight song structures take a back seat to demonic-sounding jams, including such standouts as the album opening "Seer" and "Hand of Glory" -- the latter of which kicks off with a riff that sounds as if it's processed through a transistor radio. Doom metal fans will certainly approve of Witch's self-titled debut, and will probably be shocked to learn that the longtime leader of Dinosaur Jr. is keeping the beat.

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