June In Metal IV: The Body and Witch Mountain

Written by CD Reviews, Music

Dave Steed throws his horns high for new releases from The Body and Witch Mountain.

Album: The Body, The Body
Label: At A Loss Recordings
Release: June 26, 2012

Inside my head, The Body no longer exist. This two-piece monolith released their self-titled record back in 2004 and then when they followed it up in 2010 with All the Waters of the Earth Turn To Blood they got so huge that these hairy beings decided they were too popular and disbanded. Like I said, that’s my version of what should have happened if the music world wasn’t fucked half the time. But instead, their debut release is out of print and unnoticed while the latter record gained them some popularity in the underground circles.

I don’t usually review reissues especially ones with no new tracks, like this release. But the Body is so fucking great that their self-titled disc deserves another mention. It was originally released on a small label called Moganono Records, it’s been unavailable for a long time. Now that the Body is making a name for themselves though (and releasing more than one album a decade), At A Loss decided it was time to remaster and repress this sucker.

I’m a huge fan of All the Waters of the Earth Turn To Blood because two things stick out in my mind. Crazy genre bending sludge and ungodly shrieking. This recording has the shrieking. Singer Chip King belts out very few words on the disc but when he does it sounds like he’s in the middle of a Jack Bauer torture session (welcome back 2004 reference!) and while this isn’t quite genre flipping just yet, it still packs quite a punch.

The really cool vibe from this album is one of both immediate in-your-face power and one cloaked in mystery. “Hearts Ache, Even In Dreams (City Eater)” and “The Mother and Tomb of All Things” have such force behind them it’s like getting a live grenade shoved up your rectum. But the majority of “Fallings” and the not-the-least-bit-pretentious title of “( )” are slow repetitive sludge tunes that have you peaking around the corner trying to get a sneak peak of what’s next. All the while those ungodly shrieks scare the living shit out of you.

Its not nearly as creative as the follow up but is fucking excellent in its own right and is well deserved of this reissue.

Album: Witch Mountain, Cauldron of the Wild
Label: Profound Lore
Release: June 12, 2012

If done right, female fronted doom metal is the best type of doom around. So many bands try it and few succeed but Witch Mountain are certainly starting to make a name for themselves doing just that. Interestingly enough though, lead singer Uta Plotkin wasn’t always part of the band. Guitarist Rob Wrong was originally the full time vocalist back when they released their debut in 2001. After breaking up the following year they got back together in 2005 but it wasn’t until 2009 that I guess they felt a change was needed and brought in Plotkin to sing. I personally like Wrong’s vocals which you can still hear in its full clear growling form on some tracks like the amazing “Beekeeper.” But Plotkin brings an angry Janis Joplin vibe to the mix and the heaviness of the music contrasts nicely with the high register of her voice. On the louder songs she has an over-the-top almost operatic tone going but she really shines on the slower “Shelter” where she gets to sing in softer tones. It’s almost like Natalie Merchant singing Iron Butterfly tunes.

Witch Mountain is a band that could rock your ass off today or could have opened up Woodstock. Good doom is one of the few genres that has stayed consistently good for the better part of four or five decades. If they wanted to, there’s no doubt in my mind that they could have a nice long career. If the sound isn’t old by now, then it’s probably never going to be. Great singer, cool band, fucking awesome looking logo and horns high all around for Cauldron of the Wild.

“Shelter”
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Albums currently on the potential best of 2012 list:
Christian Mistress, Possession
Goatwhore, Blood for the Master
Human Toilet, Human Toilet
Jorn, Bring Heavy Rock To the Land
OSI, Fire Make Thunder
Terrorizer, Hordes of Chaos
Ufomammut, Oro: Opus Primum
Woods of Ypres, Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light