Monday, 19 September 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Iron Witch - "A Harrowed Dawn"

By: Chris Bull
 
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 22/07/2016
Label: Secret Law Records



 
‘A Harrowed Ground’ is packed with vehemence and anger bubbling under the filthy surface and threatens to go berserk if pushed...Thankfully we don't get our heads smashed in, rather we get a warning that should we push any further, we'll be whacked about the head with the fat end of a pool cue.  It's this menace, like the stare of a crazed junkie on a comedown, that's made Iron Witch one of the stand out sludge acts in the UK and with Chris Fielding behind the desk, the edges are polished but no less piercing and deadly, he has captured the essence of a band at their crushing best. Iron Witch are carrying the torch for British Sludge and are glowing in the light it provides.

 

 
‘A Harrowed Ground’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

 
1). Beauty and Rot
2). Salvation Through Nothing
3). Machinery of Violence
4). Under the Pyre
5). Belly Full of Rats
6). Solitude and Decay

 
The Review:

 
When a band are able to make a sizeable name for themselves before releasing a full album, you know there's something special going on! Iron Witch are such a band; their collection of splits, EPs and singles thus far have been very well received by anyone and everyone who has listened and many a stage has been obliterated by their live performances. Now with a modified line up and debut full length 'A Harrowed Dawn', Iron Witch demonstrates that they're not fucking about.

 
'Beauty and Rot' sets a moody tone with the use of clean guitars and slow motion riffage to kick things off. It's packed with much vehemence and anger bubbling under the filthy surface and threatens to go berserk if pushed...Thankfully we don't get our heads smashed in, rather we get a warning that should we push any further, we'll be whacked about the head with the fat end of a pool cue, or so the brooding menace of 'Salvation Through Nothing' leads me to believe.  It's this menace, like the stare of a crazed junkie on a comedown, that's made Iron Witch one of the stand out sludge acts in the UK, the thought that at any point, they could snap and embark on a frenzied attack is always in the back of your mind.

'Machinery Of Violence' begins with some downtrodden melancholy and then gives nods towards Eyehategod, a reference the band would have no qualms about, as the filthy grooves and paranoid wails emerge from the bleak fog. 'Under The Pyre' and 'Belly Full Of Rats' further perpetuate the Eyehategod references; the former in it's slow building, rabid delivery and the latter in it's pulsating swing...and that opening riff, man that's a tasty slice! 'Belly...' has the distinction of being my personal favourite on this album, a difficult feat considering the quality of the songs throughout. It's got the kind of nasty groove that makes me grimace and nod my head in public...and I already look like a weirdo.

 
Last up is 'Solitude and Decay', a moody number, calculated and caustic in equal measure, the despair in the melody of the opening riff will make 90's kids question their misspent youth...then that rage that has been held back throughout the album is finally unleashed and justified in it's aggressive furore which then descends into regret, mourning and alcoholic shame.

 
Once again, with Chris Fielding behind the desk, the edges are polished but no less piercing and deadly. He's managed to produce some of the highlights of 2016 and here, captures the essence of a band at their crushing best. Iron Witch are carrying the torch for British Sludge and are glowing in the light it provides.



‘A Harrowed Dawn’ is available here

 
Band info: facebook || bandcamp

 
RIYL: Eyehategod, Moloch, Siege Mentality, Crypt Lurker

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