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One-Eyed Doll - "Witches" (CD)

One-Eyed Doll - "Witches" CD cover image

"Witches" track listing:

1. Ember
2. Prayer
3. Black In The Rye
4. A Rope For Mary
5. More Weight
6. Remember
7. Witch Hunt
8. Stillness
9. Afflicted
10. Sorrow
11. The Ghosts Of Gallows Hill

Reviewed by on May 7, 2015

"A concoction brewed from heavy metal, punk, and lilith all slanted towards the darker aspects of human nature, the album frequently brings to mind a heavier version of Rasputina."

One-Eyed Doll's “Witches” straddles a broomstick and gleefully flies across genre boundaries for a mix with a wider appeal than your typical underground metal album. The fairy-light female vocals and punk attitude will probably piss off the metal elitists, but the album is undeniably heavy, and the subject matter is something that many a black metal band has covered in the past. With its mix of styles and disturbing lyrical content, “Witches” is significantly more “metal” than it lets on and is a refreshingly different take on an old theme.

A concoction brewed from heavy metal, punk, and lilith all slanted towards the darker aspects of human nature, the album frequently brings to mind a heavier version of Rasputina. The lyrics are taken from Salem witch trial documents, and they blend into the music perfectly. Even though there's no shredding guitars or harsh vocals, second track “Prayer” is as metal as they come, and is an utterly black hearted track that uses strings, electronics, and clean vocals. Its one to have playing in the background just to see who stops and goes, “wait, what the FUCK did I just hear?” as vocalist Kimberly Freeman sings things like “give us strength to murder in your service” and “may the rivers flood with the blood of the damned.”

Incredibly varied between songs, each track tends to take a different pacing and style than the preceding one. “Prayer” for instance is way different than the anarchic “Ember,” while the slower and more operatic “A Rope For Mary” is leagues away from the chaotic pop-punk of “Black In The Rye.” The vocals vary with the music, ranging from punk rock shouts to a style of singing you might expect to hear from a band like Nightwish. Ninth track “Afflicted” is a particular interesting mix of styles, starting off with a creepy industrial feel before throwing back in the lyrics and melody from “Prayer” but layering them over heavier guitars and pianos.

“Witches” is undeniably a misanthropic album, but it has more of an anarchic and energetic attitude than a gloomy one. From alt rock to punk to evil metal, the album hits all the bases and is a must-hear for anyone who likes things just a bit different from the norm.

Highs: Musical anarchy, misanthropy, and witches - what more could you ask for?

Lows: The clean vocal style and mixing of heavy with soft isn't going to work for a segment of extreme metal fans.

Bottom line: If you dig a mix of styles, "Witches" will easily cast its spell on you!

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)