Wicca Phase Springs Eternal
Raw and Declawed
Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, or just Wicca Phase, is the style name of Adam Mcllwee, ex member of the Pennsylvania band Tigers Jaw and co-founder of GothBoiClique, a collective seen as helping pioneer the emo trap-rap scene thanks to the recent rise of friend and fellow member, Lil Peep. Wicca Phase continues to represent GothBoiClique while convincingly pursuing his own lane of music. With a history of varied releases, Wicca Phase Springs Eternal now delivers Raw and Declawed, a three track EP that is his most stripped down and arguably emotional project to date.
The first song “Icebreaker” was written during Adam’s time with Tigers Jaw, but on this EP is performed with a thunderous, electric guitar beneath dissonant, acoustic strumming. A similar sound direction carries over all three tracks, resulting in a mesh of dreary emotion and stripped down instrumentals that still manage to maintain a very textured atmosphere. While “Don’t Get Me Started” is slower and heavier, “Life After Death (Stress Beyond Death)” is relatively the most aggressive. All three songs on Raw and Declawed come off exactly as the title implies, raw and declawed.
Though each track on Raw and Declawed is dark and instrumentally raw, what Wicca Phase showcases better than anything else on the EP are his heartfelt lyrics. On “Icebreaker”, Wicca anxiously sings “I dream inside my room / Afraid of you finding out… When we never talk I really slipped hard for you”, lines that are personal and quite touching. “Don’t Get Me Started” acts almost like the aftermath to the previous track, detailing his loss of love and the complex emotions surrounding it. The closing lines on “Life After Death” are absolutely crushing, and is another song with a strong detail to storytelling. Not only are the lyrics across Raw and Declawed intriguing, but the vocal melodies also add notable progressions and Wicca Phase’s emotional, cavernous singing presents some of the most defining moments. There are also times on Raw and Declawed where odd sounds, feedback, and textures blend nicely and bleed through to make the project a tad more immersive.
Wicca Phase Springs Eternal wrote around half of his former band Tigers Jaw’s first big album Charmer, a project that released after Wicca Phase split from the band. Now partially returning to the sounds and writing he provided for Tigers Claw, Wicca Phase has put out a project that has a genuine rawness and should leave fans excited for what further sound directions it could lead to. Raw and Declawed isn’t ‘exciting’ by any means, but is great for that sad rainy night when you need something to relate to. Each song feels slightly different from the others, but not enough to make any of them stand out as a true favorite. Though Raw and Declawed is short, sleepy, and a little uneventful, Wicca Phase’s intense and grippingly sad lyrics take center place. Raw and Declawed is an interesting and a truly raw and declawed evolution in Wicca Phase’s work.