Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Iron Witch - A Harrowed Dawn


Tracklist:-

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

Iron Witch has been featured a few times here in the past and they're one of reasons I do this. I first got into them via long-gone local label Thirty Days Of Night Records and their "Post Vegas Blues" 7". Since then I've had the pleasure of seeing them live on more than a few occasions, getting lost in their Eyehategod-worshipping riffs. They now return with a newish line-up and their first full-length records. From the evidence exhibited during their recent set at the Ritual Fest all-dayer in Leeds, they're not gonna be taking any prisoners. "A Harrowed Dawn" was recently released via Secret Law Records on cd, vinyl and digitally following the unceremonious leaking of the record earlier in the year. 


A Harrowed Dawn starts with the sound of brooding guitar before it gets swallowed up by Iron Witch’s heavy doom on Beauty And Rot. Bass-ridden feedback and crashing cymbals add mighty heft while the vocals are made up of deep gut-wrenching roars. I remember witnessing this live and it’s every bit as devastating on record. You can definitely here the Siege Mentality influence seeping through too, as both bands share members. The lack of a pause between the opener and Salvation Through Nothing is perfect and while the latter is quite minimalistic to begin with, it doesn’t stay that way for long. A sound steeped in the Mersey’s early morning mist and the late-night whisky haze greets you when they hit full flow. The atmosphere during Machinery Of Violence is alarmingly calming (I’m not sure what that says about me!). It’s metallic riffs and psych-laden melody really hits the spot. The groove later on is sure to get you involuntarily head-banging, even if you’re in your house and on your own! As A Harrowed Dawn goes on, it’s songs get longer and obviously slower. Under The Pyre certainly starts off that way yet more groove shakes things up. Again, I recall the live rendition of this (in my booze-addled state) being great fun and hurting my neck because I couldn’t help but get sucked into it’s vibe. I once saw a movie where two guys put a rat on a blokes stomach, then put a bucket on top of it only for it to burrow inside (because that’s apparently what they do when they’re scared). Belly Full Of Rats is the aural equivalent of that movie scene and may well be inspired by it. Needless to say it’s the heaviest song on the record, so you know what you’re getting into. LP closer Solitude And Decay (another one from their Ritual set) is both catchy and endearing for those who settle in for it’s near thirteen-minute playing time. It’s almost drone-like in places and is beautifully chaotic in others. As it goes on you’ll find yourself paying more attention to it and it’s trance-inducing nature. Iron Witch’s period of silence and indeed the changes that the band has endured seem to have done it the power of good. On record, everyone sounds together and the music itself is performed in such a way that it breathes new life into the band. A stunning first LP and hopefully there will be more to come.

You can grab cd/LP copies from Secret Law Records here - https://secret-law-records.myshopify.com or from Iron Witch directly (along with other merch) at shows. It's also streaming digitally at all of the usual outlets. You can see the full list via their Facebook page below:-

Secret Law Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/secretlawrecords

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