Thursday, 22 June 2017

11 IS ONE LOUDER: Illinois stoner doom trio Earth Witch discuss their Top 5 stoner doom albums

A stoner/doom trio from Illinois is how Earth Witch are described and it is very accurate! Their debut album “Out of the Shallow” is most definitely for fans of SleepHigh on Fire and The Sword.  There are massive riffs on offer and the tracks have quite a range to them, too. You get mellow and bluesy swaggering muscular grooves and psychedelic Sabbath goodness elsewhere.

Simply put Earth Witch have delivered one of the albums of the year, every track is a winner. Every riff is massive. The production is raw and warm. Everything sounds big. Everything sounds heavy and for that Earth Witch need to be applauded for delivering a fantastic and heavy record and today it is our great pleasure to welcome the band to talk us through their top 5 stoner doom albums, as we take our weekly trip into the extreme and turn the volume all the way up to 11.  Why do we go to 11,  because its one louder

Kyuss - "Welcome to Sky Valley"

Kyuss really started to come into their own on "Welcome to Sky Valley", their third full length and first with member changes and being on a major label. I mean, "Blues for the Red Sun" is equally killer, but "Welcome..." encompasses all of the best song writing elements the desert rockers had been honing in on. While Queens of the Stone Age emerged out of its ashes (and was actually my introduction to the band), they never really could get back that "desert rock" vibe that still puts Kyuss at the top of the fuzzed out stoner rock genre. I love driving across the literal desert and jamming this on tour, specifically "100 degrees" - a short n' sweet banger. Has that loner rebel feel to it, while still most definitely makes you want to head bang right into the van's dashboard. Might be why so many bands try to copy their sound to this day. I reach for this record before QOTSA, Fu Manchu, Hermano, or any of the other killer projects that have come after. This one hits the spot every damn time. - Nathan

The Sword - "Age of Winters"

"Age of Winters" is one of the few albums we as a band can all agree on as an essential influence. Super catchy and always driving 70's inspired heavy rock. I don't think I need to go into great detail on this one as everyone with a slight interest in the genre has probably spun it multiple times over. What I personally dig most about this record is not just the amount of rad tempo changes, but how syncopated the drums and guitars are throughout. Gives it such a huge, yet overall tight sound. -

Sleep  - “Holy Mountain” 

Is it a little too on the nose for us to put a Sleep record on this list? We don’t give a shit; everyone cites Sleep because they are the masters of the genre! The rhythms and grooves throughout “Holy Mountain” influenced our style heavily, and Matt Pike and Al Cisneros’ guitar and bass tones were a good point of reference for Ivan and I when we were figuring out our sound. Wave after wave of riffs pummel your brain, yet the overall cohesiveness and flow of the album keeps you interested throughout. Cisneros’s work on the album personally influenced my playing style for Earth Witch, as he adds these crazy bass fills in most the songs that are certainly noticeable, yet not too overbearing where it distracts the listener from the rest of the song. It’s also rad that a three-piece band like Sleep can sound as full as they do, which is another thing we strive to do with our music. The mix of driving rock and heavy doom on the album is a formula Sleep perfected, influencing us and a slew of other bands over the last 20+ years. - Derrin

Danava - "Hemisphere of Shadows"

Our drummer has long been involved in running his own independent label and distributing a variety of tape and vinyl releases. During a period where he was operating his own store front in Illinois he had become quite the authority in turning us all on to the best records and one such day he suggested “Hemisphere of Shadows” by Danava and I promptly purchased it. I got home to give it a listen and could not believe the amount of riffs this band could cram into their songs. Their guitar sound was really unique compared to most heavy bands sporting tones with crushing amounts of distortion and gain, Danava had a more classic slightly driven crunchy tone and derived more of their heavy qualities from the precision and intricacy of their riffs. The record was definitely inspiring to Earth Witch as we moved from our early primarily doom focused sound to a more intricate riff laden heavy rock. The record also set some aspirations for how I wanted to approach recoding. One of my favorite tracks on the record is “I Am The Skull” which has an awesome break where they shift into this sweet keyboard solo. Ever since I heard that track I had to write a song with a keyboard solo, even if it was just for the studio recording I had to do something cool like that. -Ivan

Harvey Milk - “A Small Turn of Human Kindness"

Individually the members of our band sport quite an eclectic range of musical tastes from bands like Converge to Captain Beefheart or Christian Death to Husker Du. I recall about six years ago I was on a kick of listening to exclusively weird avant garde and noise rock type music. Nothing but Naked City, Captain Beefheart, US Maple and Ruins (Japan). I remember I was hanging out with my friend Greg listening to music and he threw on this band Harvey Milk and recall being completely blown away by how heavy and diverse their sound was. Dynamic shifts in volume and mood presented this wholly unique form of heavy music that was as bludgeoning as it was vulnerable. I became a huge fan of the group and they kind of provided a gateway into reinvigorating my interest in heavy music. “A Small Turn of Human Kindnes”s is one of their best albums. It encapsulates the pure raw qualities of the group. Creston Spier’s howling vocals has never been more heart wrenching than on tracks like “I Did Not Call Out”. The spacious quality of the drum sound as demonstrated in the opening of “I Alone Got UP and Left” cultivates such an empty feeling in the pit of your stomach. Few other albums showcase so well the power of sonic and emotional force a three piece band can produce. -Ivan

Earth Witch’s latest record “Out of the Shallow” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook