Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Purple Hill Witch - S/T (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 27/7/2014
Label: The Church Within Records

‘Purple Witch Hill’ CD track listing:

1). Queen of the Hill (07:56)
2). Astral Booze (06:39)
3). Final Procession (07:44
4). Karmanjaka(05:02)
5). The Landing (04:38)
6). Aldebaranian Voyage (Into the Sun) (03:33)
7). Purple Hill Witch (11:11)


Purple Witch Hill is a doom metal trio from Oslo Norway. They formed in 2010 and released a demo called Doomstone Blues in 2011, an EP called Alchemy in 2013, and their first full length album, Purple Hill Witch, in 2014.

Purple Hill Witch is:

Andreas Schafferer | Bass
Oyvind Kvam | Drums
Kristian Ingvaldsen | Vocals, Guitars 


You would think that sometime the world would slow down it’s production of these trippy, fuzzed out doom albums, but I really don’t think that the doom machine is showing signs of stopping anytime soon. As long as bands like Purple Hill Witch keep popping up, there really isn’t any reason for the world’s doom metal production to slow down, either. With the amount of doom metal that is out in the world already, I have enough to occupy me for the rest of my life, despite the fact that it makes up at least 75% of what I listen to on a daily basis. However, every time I go on bandcamp to look at new music, there is a constant supply of new doom albums that are continuing to perfect the art of blending the vintage sounds of Sabbath, Pentagram, Vitus, all those guys, with their own style.

Purple Witch Hill is definitely one of those bands. It can be hard for bands in the Stoner/Doom genre to distinguish themselves, since it can be very easy to fall into a fairly generic sound, but PWH gives just enough variety to keep you listening, but still keeps one consistent sound throughout the album, which is always good. As a listener, you can tell that these songs are all meant to go together – there aren’t any duds, these aren’t just the first 7 songs they wrote and decided to toss onto the album.  In my own humble opinion, and there are countless exceptions to this rule but I still think it holds some kind of validity, a power trio is the setup that allows for the most creativity in doom, and I would use Purple Witch Hill as an example of this any day of the week.

The band can come together and rock hard all together for the main riffs of a song, but can jam out and do their own thing during solos or longer instrumental breaks. If you really pay attention to the bass in the song ‘Final Procession’, it is clear that Andreas Schafferer really knows when to follow the guitar, when to follow the drums, and when to break off and give us some nice little bass lick behind everything else. This is a quality I also attribute to Geezer Butler, so you can clearly see the influence there.

Kristian Ingvaldsen, the guitarist and vocalist, brings that same element of Sabbath worship to the table, but somehow holds down the role of Ozzy and Tony. This is a guy who consistently lays down badass riffs for a full 48 minute album without a single boring moment, his only break being a few well-placed, well-written solos. Check out the track ‘The Landing’ for what is probably his most Sabbath-influenced song (although they all really do channel the Sabbath very nicely), from its slow, epic riff starting the song off, to his slow, deliberate solo, to the faster breakdown, very reminiscent of the breakdown in ‘Hand of Doom’, to his Ozzy-esque vocals.

All-in-all, this is a great album for someone who doesn’t like their metal to deviate too far from Ozzy era Sabbath, but still likes the nice fuzzy sound of Electric Wizard or other more modern stoner/doom.

Words by: Alex D.

You can pick up a copy here

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