Archive for the ‘Sea Witch’ Category

Sea Witch — As Above/So Below

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

It feels as though aeons have passed since you sailed into the storm. Your vessel is buffeted again and again by increasingly hostile waves bearing the demeanour of the rabid. With each savage blow, your desire to cling desperately to life erodes. Out of the swirling cacophony of the maelstrom, the funereal contemplation of a lone accordion is carried to your ears upon the gale. In the distance, you see the colossal black shape of a beyond venerable ship effortlessly cutting through the rage towards you, the billowing singularity of its sails sucking what little light there is left out of the skies. This ghastly frigate has come to carry you away, into obliteration, to become unified with the fear and death that fuels the angry sea. Such is the dream when you listen to the superb demos As Above and So Below from Sea Witch.

Hailing from the Canadian maritime province of Nova Scotia, Sea Witch have tapped into the raw spirit of their natural surroundings to conjure doom metal of tremendous class and, most certainly, distinction. There is little question that the band will become a favourite amongst aficionados of doom. Whilst others understandably struggle to find a sound and style within a genre groaning under weight of numbers that sets them apart, Sea Witch seem to do so effortlessly.

Doom has many branches, with a lot of the tendrils reaching out into groove and blues-based invocations that are more reminiscent of a fairly sticky route to a rockin’ good time than the traditional definition of the genre’s title. There is no such thing to be found here. The music of Sea Witch is absolutely oppressive, wonderfully solemn. The production is superb, thick and weighty without defaulting to an over-compressed theft of dynamics essential to vast atmosphere, and is far beyond most efforts at this level. Whilst the hull is built from brilliant heavy riffs driven on by superb doom drumming, it is the wind in their sails that provides many of the details achieving the difficult task of lending Sea Witch their distinctive nature.

Sweeping, subtly reverberant guitar drones soar over the ultra-heavy bludgeoning below. Perhaps most notably of all, an accordion appears throughout the demos, providing calming and haunting counterpoints to the deluge. Morose and idyllic, the instrument’s inclusion infuses the music with a more rounded representation of the seas, a calm and soothing veil over a destructive soul. On the second demo, So Below, clean guitars become more frequent, additionally enhancing this reflective contrast to the monstrous storm of heaviness. Being an instrumental band, the absence of a voice further serves to build up the insignificance of humanity in the face of the majestic force of the seas. It is not until the final track on the second demo that voices appear, a ghastly distant rendition of something like a sea shanty, but with an ancient almost Nordic feel to it. The maritime element is clear and inescapably bewitching. In developing this take on doom, Sea Witch have absolutely nailed it.

It is an exciting prospect to see how Sea Witch develops this further and what they can make of such potential. Should their work ethic match their obvious talent, much broader recognition will be a matter of whether it be what they desire. If you love doom, then the acquisition of this band’s work should be your priority today. Digitally, both demos are available combined for around the price of a coffee. For a treasure more rare and precious, both demos are available in a very limited cassette box set from Small Doses.

The Black Captain hosts Behind the Mirror with DJ Jess Kill this Wednesday, the 14th, at 11pm (+8GMT) on RTRFM92.1.