Photo by David Rubene
Fair warning: You had better get your neck and shoulders loose before listening to the song we’re about to premiere on this winter solstice day. Hell, get your whole body loose, because “Renewal” will make you move, and your conscious mind will likely have no power over that impulse.
The song is a new one by Minneapolis-based Witchden, and it reveals a further progression in their ever-evolving manifestations of metallic extremity. With three full-lengths to their credit so far — Consulting the Bones (2012), Salt the Earth (2016), and Deus Nihil (2019) — our beloved Metal-Archives still brands them a Sludge band, but the truth is that their music has been increasingly much more of a hybrid than the Sludge label suggests — and “Renewal” makes that fact even more evident.
Photo by David Rubene
In fact, it’s tempting to give “Renewal” the brand of “black ‘n’ roll”. It does rock very damned hard, thanks to its skull-cracking drum rhythms, gut-rumbling bass lines, and swaggering, slashing chords. It also erupts in flurries of blasting drums and feverish tremolo’d fretwork, shifting the song’s mood of grim, sinister menace into one of feral frenzy. The vocals shift as well. The band’s new frontman Drew Blood is possessed of a gargantuan roaring growl, but is equally capable of pitching his voice into incinerating screams.
There comes a point when the song shifts gears, becoming slower and somewhat less neck-ruining, and when that happens the riffing both jolts and becomes more unnerving. But the song is still punching your neck and moving your head, just at a more moderate pace. Perhaps needless to say at this point, “Renewal” is also highly infectious, the kind of experience that will sink its fangs deep into your reptile brain.
The video depicts the band performing the song, and the wonderful lighting of the film, coupled with the band’s own barbaric and diabolical appearances, makes for a perfect visual accompaniment to the menace and savagery in the music. Credit for the video’s production goes to Adam Tucker at Signature Sound — who was also tracking the song as it was being played, so he’s also responsible for the sound production (and it does sound great)..
“Renewal” is the first-to-be-revealed of four new songs that Witchden have recorded. We’ve heard one more of those, and like “Renewal“, it’s terrific. We’ll have to wait and see when and how the new material will be released, but it will be worth the wait.
In the meantime, Witchden have re-recorded three of their previously released tracks with their new vocalist Drew Blood (also a member of Coffin Rites), and below we’ve embedded streams of those tracks — “Note to Self“, “Abhorrent Rite“, and “Wither“.
In the following links we’ve provided ways to explore Witchden‘s previous works, and to follow their news.