Witch Mountain
Cauldron Of The Wild


4.5
superb

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
June 16th, 2012 | 95 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Witch Mountain deliver staggeringly haunting doom metal that's firmly rooted in traditional blues.

Out of all subgenres of metal, traditional doom is the one which most often resorts to profound, entirely tangible emotions. Whether it's retrospective melancholia of Warning's Watching From A Distance or spiritual voyeurism of Yob's Atma, the best doom metal albums of the last several years have boasted enough emotional authenticity to make them stand out among many impressively technical, yet soulless metal releases. The third disc of Portland's Witch Mountain is one of these rare albums in the genre that encompass a great deal of musical sensitivity and heart. Following on self-released South Of Salem which garnered a multitude of favourable reviews last year, Cauldron Of The Wild capitalizes on the quartet's blues-ingrained brand of doom metal. While the majority of similar acts largely focuses on overbearing, often monotonous heaviness, Witch Mountain distinguish themselves by implementing permeating groove of Mississippi Delta blues into their style.

The comparisons to Black Sabbath's proto-metal are indispensable on the grounds of robust arrangements alone. Rob Wrong is an extraordinary guitarist who finds an ideal tone which constantly oscillates between ominously filthy riffs of sludge metal and enchantingly dissonant, expressive solos being reminiscent of Jimmy Hendrix himself. Wrong's guitar play is built upon Nathan Carson's lumbering drum fills and Neal Munson's ponderous bass lines, which makes for thunderous, yet discordant sound. On top of that, amazing Uta Plotkin delivers decidedly soulful vocals that bring a new layer to all six songs. It's the first time she has contributed lyrics and vocal melodies and thus her distinct personality leaves its stamp on the entire record. Opener “Lanky Rae” is a psychedelic blues jam that references old murder ballads, whereas “Beekeeper” is way more enigmatic in its atmosphere showcasing a dazzling performance of Plotkin who runs the gamut of emotions contrasting high-pitched with raspy vocals to powerful effect.

Another feature that differentiates Witch Mountain from their doom metal contemporaries is an inclination towards transition-based song craft. Every track on Cauldron Of The Wild has its distinctive nature effectively sporting numerous shifts in both mood and tempo. For instance, a claustrophobic, roaring guitar onslaught of “Shelter” builds to galloping heavy metal accented by solemn vocals. The most epic songs are placed at the end of the disc though. “Aurelia” is a tour de force of progressive doom metal expertly unravelling from a quiet Americana-echoing verse to precisely timed, grandiose riff bursts. The song's oppressive tone is intensified by Plotkin's poignant lyrics only to be finalized by Wrong's uplifting guitar riffs. Closer “Never Know” is equally good, yet this time that hushed blues groove explodes in the middle of the song leading to the record's defining moment that simply defies expectations.

With its remarkable blues undertones, top-notch songwriting and Uta Plotkin emerging as a truly unique voice in music, Cauldron Of The Wild ranks among the most haunting doom metal albums ever released. It's an impeccable amalgamation of ferocity, darkness and soul that may very well be impossible to surpass this year.



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user ratings (47)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2012


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Beekeeper is streaming here:

http://soundcloud.com/profoundlorerecords/witch-mountain-beekeeper

Yes. This is amazing. I'm eagerly jumping on the hype train this time around.

Digging: Wildbirds & Peacedrums - Rhythm

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2012


16789 Comments


first review as a contrib, and a well-written one at that

might check this out

Digging: Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

ShadowRemains
June 15th 2012


21327 Comments


this sounds pretty dope, both literally and figuratively (its on Profound Lore, that can't be bad)

conesmoke
June 15th 2012


5275 Comments


Nice review. Does it sound like a mountain of witches?

CaptainDooRight
June 15th 2012


30242 Comments


Just listened to three tracks off this and wasn't impressed overall. Maybe a 3-3.5

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 16th 2012


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@ShadowRemains:
It's the best Profound Lore release since Yob's Atma.

@conesmoke:
I don't know man. I'm not familiar with them.

@CaptainDooRight:
Well. The last two tracks guarantee a 4 for me alone. And yes, critics are right. This may be the best metal album of the year so far.


D41V30N
June 16th 2012


949 Comments


Great music, but I just can't get into their music at all. Glad to see you've become a contributor; you write some of the best reviews here in the site.

Back to the new Woods of Ypres for me.

TheNotrap
June 16th 2012


8121 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Very nice review Greg, will check this out.
Congratulations on your well-deserved promotion.

Digging: Pink Floyd - The Endless River

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 16th 2012


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks guys. I like the new Woods of Ypres album too, but I prefer this.

Wizard
June 16th 2012


19612 Comments


Their re-release of South Of Salem bored me to tears, I still might give this a listen when time allows it. Damn good review buddy!

Digging: Hans Zimmer - Interstellar

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 16th 2012


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's inferior to this for sure, but I can't say I was bored. Thanks.

SteelErectedb4you8er
June 16th 2012


2618 Comments


I dug South of Salem! Nice review, Greg. And I didn't know you became a Contributor, congrats on that! By the way, we mastered our eo yesterday. Some time this week it will be available for download. And I still need to listen to this.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 16th 2012


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cool. This is quite amazing. Get on it asap. Especially the two last tracks are mind-blowing.


SteelErectedb4you8er
June 16th 2012


2618 Comments


Will do!

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 16th 2012


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You must. Only 2 ratings for this make me feel like a sad panda.

MeatSalad
June 16th 2012


14900 Comments


Sounds cool, need more doom metal so i'll check this out

Digging: The Weakerthans - Reconstruction Site

MyWife
June 16th 2012


367 Comments


It's the best Profound Lore release since Yob's Atma.






SOLD

Wizard
June 16th 2012


19612 Comments


It's inferior to this for sure, but I can't say I was bored. Thanks.

Well then, this is going on my playlist for tomorrow. I've been listening to way too much industrial stuff to fully appreciate this tonight hahahaha.

It's the best Profound Lore release since Yob's Atma.

Dude, no way. Terminal, Dawnbringer, Alderbaran, Pallbearer, Wold, Antediluvian, Leviathan, and probably many more bands on the label had far better albums than that snore fest. That was the worst album Yob has put out (and I mean bad as in it wasn't up to par with the rest of their discography).

GhettoHmbrglr
June 16th 2012


598 Comments


Yeah this>>>>sorrow & extinction.

But that's just my dumb opinion.

pizzamachine
June 16th 2012


12571 Comments


YES A GREG84 CONTRIBUTOR REVIEW!





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