Acid Witch is a rather unique band in the death/doom metal scene. They largely avoid the miserable gloomy aesthetic of their peers in favor of psychedelic influences and a Halloween funhouse feel more commonly seen with your average Misfits acolyte. Evil Sound Screamers, the Detroit group’s third full-length album as well as their first since 2011’s Stoned, continues the horror doom path while offering a few tweaks in the delivery.
While the dank production suggests a revisit of the Witchtanic Hallucinations style, the actual presentation has more in common with Stoned, having a similar overarching concept reinforced by the numerous samples placed throughout. But while that album offered your typical black mass Hail Satan-isms, the samples of Evil Sound Screamers are largely taken from a Halloween PSA amusingly narrated by a Mr. Rogers-type figure, and largely revolve around the mundane dangers of the holiday itself. It’s more on the nose than before, but thankfully the samples avoid being repetitive and aid the swirling Halloween night atmosphere. It’s the way you remember Halloween being like when you were a kid, only with more death growls.
A bit of that camp also carries over into the songwriting and band performances. Acid Witch has never been a serious band by any means and the vocals still mostly based on deep growls, but the delivery has gotten some tweaks. The harshness has more of a raspy bite and cleaner wails are brought in to reinforce the cheekiness of songs like “Mr. Beistle” and “Red Dwarf.” The keyboards may also be more prominent than before, mixing the organ with spooky sci-fi sound effects.
Overall, Evil Sound Screamers is an even more tongue in cheek take on an already kitschy formula but it proves to be a welcome addition to Acid Witch’s growing discography. It sometimes feels like there was more time spent building on the atmosphere than the actual songwriting, and I do wish there were more songs like “Hardrock Halloween” on here, but it manages to be an enjoyable listen. Stoned may be the best place to start when exploring Acid Witch, but this album should fit in with Electric Wizard, Cathedral, and whatever else you may have on your Halloween doom metal playlist.
“An Evil Sound Screaming”
Evil Sound Screamers will be available on October 31 via Hells Headbangers Records.