Acid Witch is a band that appeals to me on so many levels that it’s virtually impossible not to like them. On sophomore album Stoned, the Michigan monster squad’s use of horror soundtrack synths, down-tuned doom riffage, battery acid gargling vocals and Halloween decorations gone hallucinogenic artwork is irresistible, as if someone combined all of my obsessions to create one killer recording. It’s also the perfect antidote to a metal scene that’s become a little too serious for my liking of late. I mean, how many po’ faced transcendental post-black fruit-bot-core bands do we really need?
It isn’t my intention to paint Acid Witch as court jesters of the metal scene. On the contrary, the band is dead serious about their (witch)craft on Stoned. Nonetheless, there is a hilariously demented quality to songs such as “Stoned to the Grave” and “Metal Movie Marijuana Massacre Meltdown” which leads me to believe that Acid Witch have studied the campier side of classic horror films. Think An American Werewolf in London, The Return of the Living Dead and others that effortlessly mix horror with just a dash of pitch-black humor. Stoned has a similar feeling to those ’80s gore-fests, that feeling of not being sure whether to laugh or puke or both.
The album sounds every bit as disgusting as the films it evokes. Guitars vomit out ultra-distorted power chords, coating Stoned in a thick layer of sonic zombie-chunder, while the Goblin-on-LSD keyboards conjure up a sleazy, drugged-out haze of an atmosphere that perfectly compliments Acid Witch’s musical black mass in praise of lowbrow culture. The grooves laid down by the band on tracks like “Sabbath of the Undead” and “Thundering Hooves” are deep, dark and dirty, evoking the Michigan-bred proto-metal stylings of The Stooges, The MC5 and Alice Cooper. It’s a bizarre amalgam of sounds that works amazingly well and is at times genuinely creepy, as on “Trick or Treat,” a disturbing yarn about a child murderer/cannibal who preys upon trick or treaters.
Stoned is a Satanic/psychedelic journey into the rotten bowels of doom, drenched in blood, guts and graveyard stench; the ultimate soundtrack to a night of horror VHS tapes, vintage EC comics, cheap booze and copious amounts of the devil’s weed. Burst-beating manifesto-writers, corpse-painted crybabies and post-everything beard-cultivators need not apply.
Here’s a really cool fan video for the track “Witchfynder Finder”