Artist One-Eyed Doll
Release Date: 24 March 2015
Label Standby Records Genre Goth Punk | Horror Punk
Fun fact: I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a History major and a minor in Anthropology. These two emphases allowed me to take two classes about witches and the surrounding lore and culture of the mythological creatures. One class I learned about the history of witches throughout all of mankind’s history, and another one focused on them as a cultural phenomena within tribal civilizations. Needless to say, I am somewhat of an experienced nerd on the subject.
Pre-order Witches here.
When I first found out One-Eyed Doll, a gothic punk duo out of Texas, created an entire concept album entitled Witches I was entirely excited. My excitement waned a little once I found out the album was about the Salem Witch Trials (easily the least exciting ones throughout history), but, regardless, my historical buff muscles popped out of my brain and dove right in.
The sound of Witches fits in what I think about music. Drummer Junior Swell stated that the album has a bit of a “forest metal vibe,” and he could not be more spot on. “Ember” starts off the album with a groove that would fit the girls of Salem dancing in the forest, igniting the album’s thick guitars and eccentric drums. Upon an immediate stop “Prayer” enters the mix with mandolins and strings, almost in direct contrast to the heavy song before it. The folk atmosphere helps drive home the mysterious nature of witches, and in this case the album.
In terms of the concept, anyone who has read the direct manuscripts from the trials and journals of the people involved will recognize some of the lyrics. This is because Kimberly Freeman, vocalist and guitarist took many of the lines from the trial documents. Songs focus on the different people involved and how/why they let the trials go as they went.
Sonically the music is mixed and performed very well. “Remember” is an introspective symphony of blended instruments, “More Weight” is a quick-paced punk anthem and “Witch Hunt” is a Gothic piece that could find its way into a Tim Burton movie. All of the various influences shine in their own way, creating a fun album from beginning to end that not only tells a story, but it establishes just how creative One Eyed Doll are.
To be honest, the most impressive thing about this album is the amount of detail and effort that went into creating this masterpiece. From the lyrics to the harmonized vocals, the string sections to the folk songs, and the heavy guitar riffs to the intricate drumming, everything works. If I had the ability to see the entirety of Witches live, I would be happy dying, because this voodoo ritual I just performed listening to it might have me hung anyways.