Following up on a debut record can be an act of threading the needle in terms of covering new musical ground while having firmly planted roots. With The Final Exorcism, Dead Witches successfully build on the doom and sludge foundation of Ouija while venturing into new musical directions.
Dead Witches, featuring Mark Greening (drums) Oliver Irongiant (Guitar) Soozi Chameleone, (Vocals), and Carl Geary (Fuzz bass), sound like a modern occult band in the late 60s. In The Final Exorcism, psychedelic riffs, stoner metal melodies, doom beats, and towering vocals fill the air with black magic.
“There’s Someone There” conjugates retro horror and stoner doom with scratchy tapping and grainy, spoken dialogue. The spoken words sound like part of a horror soundtrack and reveal this record’s cultish tone and mood. This is but an interlude to “The Final Exorcism.” A dark and pugilistic song, the bass on this track sounds like it is purring. Guttural vocals coupled with thick sludge riffs rock, especially when Soozi Chameleone repeats, like a chant, “Divine, divine.”
“Goddess of the Night” is a super psychedelic headbanger that sounds like it was recorded by a coven of witches. The wah guitar effect, fuzzy bass, and throaty vocals offer a nuanced doom and occult musical experience. “When Do The Dead See The Sun,” by contrast, is a toned down and laid back track, allowing for breathing room in between the nightmarish songs bookending it. Low-fi vocals and melodic, earthy, acoustic guitar chords create a tranquil-yet-sinister space.
“The Church By The Sea” kicks off with evil, death metal guitar licks and thumping drums. The vocals are dirty, playing off the dominating drum beats. The bass and guitar licks also provide effective and satisfying counterpoints to one another. Ever-evolving psychedelic flourishes create tension that builds into something truly heavy.
“Lay, Demon” is a slow, blues jam and is as unrelenting as everything else on The Final Exorcism. The bass is so heavy, I felt my heart synch with the beat. “Lay Demon,” the penultimate song, is a real monster crawling from the swamp. “Fear the Priest” is the final doom. Lurching in the shadows and growing among the sludge in this song is a heavy thrash element.
“Fear the Priest” has industrial flourishes midway through the tune that take listeners on one final exploration into parts unknown. This song goes somewhere different than all the other songs on this record. It is as surprising as it is satisfying for The Final Exorcism to release listeners from its evil grasp.
The Final Exorcism resonates with 60s cults, black magic, and doom metal. Filled with goddesses, demons, and all manners of horror, this exciting and gratifying release by Dead Witches is a slick, modern, gothic vision for our monstrous times.