Review Summary: Witches and Doom Metal, mixed with some psychedelic guitars and a small dose of Black Metal vocals.
Hailing from Florida, Psychic Dose is a four piece Doom Metal band that slowly builds momentum. Although having released three records before Maleficium Volume 1: Death of the Sorcerer, this record is their first concept album. Lasting for about an hour, this album tells the story of a witch trying black magic, getting caught and sentenced to death. Of course this doesn’t go as planned, she survives and takes her revenge.
The story is backed by a thick and heavy doom metal riffs that accelerates in well-chosen moments. While the guitars are heavily distorted in the rhythm section, Andrew Constantino (guitar) placed some psychedelic melodies throughout the songs with less saturation that allows the listener to drift away in the atmosphere they are building. One song that will highlight this feature is Curse of the Witchhunter with its heavy and psychedelic introduction. In fact, this song marks a turn in the general atmosphere of the record, songs are more psychedelic and for some faster than the opening of the record. For example, The Wizard Council sees a mid-tempo riff while Bound to the Bog is filled with distant melodic guitar solos.
Not only can we separate this record in two in terms of atmosphere, but also in terms of quality. Using the same song to separate the two groups, the second half seems more accomplished and less raw than the first half. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that the first half is forgettable, its raw element has its own charm and works perfectly on this record. Another interesting high point in this record is the vocals. Singer Amanda Howell uses both clean and harsh vocals that reminded me of Black Metal screams, a very nice addition to the intensity of the songs.
All in all this is a great Doom Metal release. Although not being known that much, Psychic Dose managed to release a quality record which shows improvement from all members as a band. Although the first half of the album is a bit harder to listen to, the second was a very pleasant ride towards the wrath of the Witch. Looking forward to hearing where this evolution will go, hopefully they will keep up this good work!