THE DEMO CORNER
The Portland, Oregon doom metal band Witch Mountain has had a long, strange journey. Formed in 1997 and released a studio album in the form of Come the Mountain in 2001. They took a break the year after and didn’t come to their current identity until 2009, when Uta Plotkin was installed as the lead vocalist. Their breakthrough performance was at Fall into Darkness of that year, and since then, they had been working towards their first album with Plotkin in South of Salem, released last year. That album got the attention of Profound Lore Records, who signed them at the end of last year.
With a new record label in tow and several shows under their belt, having opened for the likes of Premonition 13 (one of Wino’s bands), Witch Mountain is poised to ascend to new heights this year, and as tough as it is to top South of Salem, it seems like they did just that on their new album Cauldron of the Wild.
From the opening strains of “The Ballad of Lanky Rae,” it is clear that Witch Mountain is out to prove that they are here to stay. This point gets driven home the moment Plotkin’s vocals kick in. The guitars add a rich sound that wasn’t present on South of Salem, something that will undoubtedly make the band stand out in the doom metal scene. “Shelter” is possibly one of the best songs on Cauldron of the Wild, and that’s even though every song is worth quite a few listens, as everything you ever wanted to know about Witch Mountain as far as sound goes is present on the song. The song even has some growls from Plotkin, as evidenced on “Shelter” and “Veil of the Forgotten.” The growls are rather brief, but put a stamp on the doom metal element to the blues-laden sound that Witch Mountain seems to have perfected on the album. The last two songs on the album “Aurelia” and “Never Know” provide an endurance test of sorts for Witch Mountain, and given that the energy doesn’t wane on either song, it’s safe to say that they pass the test with flying colors. Unless doom metal or blues inspired music isn’t up your alley, there isn’t anything negative you can say about Cauldron of the Wild.
Witch Mountain has only really been gaining momentum in the last three years or so, but they are proof that it’s better late than never when it comes to success. South of Salem got them into the door with the doom metal elite, but with Cauldron of the Wild, they are ready to challenge for head of that group. Standing out in a crowded doom metal scene is often difficult, but Witch Mountain does that by a mile. Cauldron of the Wild is a sure-fire bet to make the year-end list, and maybe even end up at the top. Witch Mountain is here to stay, like it or not.
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1. The Ballad of Lanky Rae
4. Veil of the Forgotten
6. Never Know
Total playing time: 45:23
Release Date: June 12th, 2012
Label: Profound Lore Records
Witch Mountain - Cauldron of the Wild
July 16, 2012