Graveyard, Witch, and Torche


Phases & Stages

Two Tee Pees and a Hydra Head add up to an indie label three-way from last month's South by Southwest. First notes cut the deepest: introductory toms, Tony Iommi tones, and a crying "hole in my soul." These aren't Santana's "Evil Ways," rather Graveyard's beheading in the forest for the trees of Gothenburg, Sweden. The four lanky first-timers offset a Glenn Danzig vocal summons ("Satan's Finest") with Blue Cheer bass and a deep forest timbre from parallel axes tolling noir. Graveyard's metal Merry Widow ("Thin Line"), moaning unravel ("Blue Soul"), and "As the Years Pass by, the Hours Bend" unearth early 1970s metal without needless bile. Superdelegate 2008. Witch's 2006 debut cast an eponymous stoning, J Mascis' drum bash beating the Vermont quartet's concrete stingers "Rip Van Winkle" and "Isadora." Paralyzed stink "Eye" skitters a ripper Iron Maiden Killers-style, Kyle Thomas' nasally Buscemi drone huffing a trebly, lo-fi, gas-can basement mix of unsettling Blair Witch metal. "1000 MPH" floors its broomstick down the autobahn; sinner "Sweet Sue" does the zombie lurch in time to the screaming meemies build and burst of "Psychotic Rock" and lobotomy scram of "Mutated." There's nary a single uncursed track on this Salem's Lot. Miami arsonists Torche their first for Isis growth Hydra Head and second overall, the brilliantly identified Meanderthal. Besting a self-titled predecessor by breaking the half-hour mark alone, the 2005 debut's psychedelic "doom pop" burns heavier here: locust swarming "Speed of the Nail" and clean pummeled hook-n-ladder "Healer." The midsection crosses into Poster Children territory ("Across the Shields"), vocals too hard candy shell ("Sundown") and mall monarchy ("Little Champion"). Yet beginning and end raise stainless-steel walls of Secret Machines beat, supernova guitars ("Fat Waves"), epic repetition ("Amnesian"), and the prehistoric title track, instrumental earth-quaking to wake the dinosaurs.

Phases & Stages
Phases & Stages

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