North Carolina is not uncommon terrain for a metal band to get a foothold in this world, especially a doom metal band. You can credit the trailblazing and pathfinding of bands like Corrosion of Conformity, but really, I think there is just something in the ground there that seeps up through the souls of people’s feet, a permeable exchange that makes it easy to tap into the ever percolating basin of human misery and despair that colors all of modern life and which finds particularly resonate expression through doom and sludge metal.
Not every band who takes a draft of this black yield of the soil comes away a twisted wreck, though. Some of them just gain a better sense of humor about it all, and a few of these lesser deformed dupes even start bands: Enter Witchtit.
Witchtit are a supremely sludgy and resin-lined, doom metal band that takes the sinister and the occult and gives them a beguiling twist on their EP, Intoxicating Lethargy. One of the ways that the band is able to keep things in perspective is that their lead vocalist, Reign, is able to tap into the overblown and highly theatrical vain of blues vocals and soul that informed the performances of Jinx Dawson’s work with Coven, spiked with a hint of gothic drama a la Johan Langquist.
To this end, it’s worth noting that the band are pretty upfront about their appreciation for Candlemass and the way that that group’s epic sense of dreary grandeur influences their music. It would take literally all afternoon to itemize every way that the band makes their adulation for Candlemass evident through their own songwriting and performances, but I will say that you can really feel the glacial compress of the Stockholm group’s presence in the soul-deadening burn delivered by the aching lung of the guitar work and the sinking, spiritual morass of the title-track.
Many Southern doom-metal bands have left their scorched thumbprints on the skin of Witchtit, very notably St. Vitus on the fire walking, blues hammer of “Traveler.” You can find trace spur marks left by those goading British pagans in Witchfinder General here as well, particularly where they mingle with some sour-toned Candlemass-esque melodies on the frightful “Home Invasion” and thrashy whiplash of “Crimson Tide.”
Intoxicating Lethargy is a chilling and even haunting album, but what is apparent from the way it all comes together is that Witchtit are enjoying the hell out of bringing this material to life. It makes me think of a certain Vincent Price quote, which goes, “I sometimes feel that I’m impersonating the dark unconscious of the whole human race. I know this sounds sick, but I love it.” If you can enjoy mucking around in the darker pools of the human mind, you can pretty much have fun anywhere and at any time. There is a lesson in there somewhere, I think.
Buy and/or stream Intoxicating Lethargy via Bandcamp below: