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Temple Of The Fuzz Witch – Red Tide

Temple Of The Fuzz Witch
Red Tide
by Ian Yeara at 03 December 2020, 10:52 AM

Doom Metal is a genre I have a bit of an on again/off again relationship with. Bands LIKE SWALLOW THE SUN and DRACONIAN got me into the Melodic Death Metal side of Doom Metal, but when it comes to the more Proggy/Psychedelic side of things the only band I really listen to with any regularity would be NEW KEEPERS OF THE WATER TOWER.

I want to be upfront about this, I have a hard time enjoying most “Stoner” Doom Metal. Primarily because most Stoner Doom bands seem to have a pretty immature vision of their band which is usually reinforced by subpar distortion effects and lame, if not outright bad production. Also, in my experience, they must try to find the grittiest singers that sound like their gargling rocks. Fortunately TEMPLE OF THE FUZZ WITCH stays away from such tepid tropes and seem to have genuinely poured their energy into making a dark, twisted, but well-presented Stoner Doom Metal album. One might accuse the album of being a little boring and repetitive, but this is definitely a product of passion and a love for the genre.

The moment I knew this wasn’t going to be your average Stoner Doom record was at 1:53 into "Baphomet", when the vocals came in. A clean vocalist that doesn’t sound like they’re gargling gravel? In Doom Metal?! Well it’s real and Noah Bruner on vocals was easily my favorite part of this album. Another thing that caught my attention was the guitars actually have a reasonable amount of distortion, in fact I’d argue that they really nail that middle ground between normal Metal distortion and the utterly ridiculous thick textures of bands like SLEEP. This all results in a pretty serious-minded Doom Metal album, perhaps at the expense of what (again in my limited experience with the genre) silliness most of the genre seems to evoke.

You’ll notice I haven’t really talked about the songs themselves so far and really it’s because none of the individual songs really caught my ear. I mean there’s cool moments spread throughout; the bridge and solo on "The Others" is pretty cool, the opening two minutes of "Baphomet" are absolutely massive and there are excellent riffs throughout the album. I suppose that kind of outlines the problem I’m having with this, there are wonderful moments, but none of the songs stuck with me or gave me any desire to revisit them. I really had to force myself to relisten to this album after the initial go through.

The song that probably stood out the most was probably "Cimmerian", this is the closest I think this album gets to the Proggy side of Psychedelic Doom Metal, and not just because it’s the longest song on the album. The build-up into the heavier parts of the song are well done and the development sections include some neat modulations and actually use some major tonality when the rest of the album is almost uniformly minor. Also it has yet another excellent bridge and solo. "Ungoliant" at least provides a fun outro; most of the song is once again, nothing to write home about, but then the last minute and a half the pace picks up for a moment and we get a surprisingly aggressive section which does help sell the ending. What’s sad though is that as a huge Tolkien fan, I really wanted to like a song titled "Ungoliant" more, but most of the song isn’t terribly interesting.

For the most part, it’s hard to talk about the individual songs other than the key moments I highlighted above because almost every song sounds the same and have very similar song structures. I like the sound they’re aiming for on the album as a whole, but when you look at the individual songs I just don’t find enough there to hook me in. I’m not even trying to say that one has to have a traditional chorus, but we all know there are other ways to write hooks and this album is largely devoid of any hooks that really helped make this album memorable or like I said made me want to revisit this album. Overall, I enjoyed it, but I can tell you right now I don’t plan on coming back to it. All that being said, if you are more of a Doom fan than I, there’s plenty for you to enjoy here and I hope fans of the genre enjoy this album more than I did.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 4
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Baphomet
2. Cherenkov Light
3. The Others
4. Dead’s Desire
5. Cimmerian
6. Agony
7. Ungoliant
Lineup:
Noah Bruner – Vocals, Guitars
Neal Morrison – Drums
Record Label: Interstellar Smoke Records (Infecting Cells PR)
     


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