Apparently ripping off Electric Wizard is so lucrative that actual Electric Wizard members are getting in on the fun! Joking aside, Dead Witches is a new doom band masterminded by Psychedelic Witchcraft vocalist Virginia Monti with former Wizard drummer Mark Greening, the latter of whom is also fresh off a stint serving With the Dead. The resulting thirty-two minute debut album sounds exactly like you think it will, but it does manage to be a fun enough ride for downer rock fans.
Doom is always recognized as a guitar-oriented subgenre, but Dead Witches does subvert this trope by featuring the drums and vocals most prominently. Greening’s drums are high in the mix but justify this with a performance that is as enthusiastic as this inherently lethargic style will allow while Monti’s vocals have an odd effect on them but may be more controlled than her performances with Psychedelic Witchcraft. Guitarist Greg Elk, who unfortunately passed away before this album’s release, still gets in a pretty solid tone though the mix in general may not be as bass heavy as I would prefer.
This band dynamic may ultimately be the band’s Achilles heel as a diminished guitar role leads to fewer standout riffs. While the songs on here are enjoyable and nothing is poorly written, it does tend to blur together. Fortunately, the album is short enough to not wear out its welcome and it does get somewhat stronger toward the end. “Mind Funeral” (Not to be confused with “Funeral of Your Mind” off the last Wizard album) has the most distinct riff set and “A World of Darkness” has the best drum performance.
Depending on your feelings toward the recent outbreak of occult doom, you’ll either hate Dead Witches on sight or welcome it as a pleasant enough addition to the scene. Either way, their debut album is competently executed but won’t really stand out on its merits to anyone but the biggest diehards. While the band’s status is likely shaky due to the loss of their guitarist, I hope they are able to regroup and become stronger as a unit. In the meantime, I’d stick to Electric Wizard and Psychedelic Witchcraft if you want to hear these performers at their best.
“A World of Darkness”