On their self-titled debut EP, Brazilian stoner merchants Son of a Witch pull elements from some superb influences and in turn, end up sounding pretty fabulous themselves. Adopting a general approach which fuses the best parts of Down and Orange Goblin, their riffs are among the best to emerge from a generation of post-Sabbath doom merchants.
As with all stoner rock, the riff is king. Whether they’re adopting a slow and ominous feeling, or moving into faster groove led territory (a la Monster Magnet), the twin guitars of musicians Gila Monster and Space Ghost dominate each of these three tracks with a ferocity that could match many of their more professional counterparts. While their guitar work is relatively consistent, the extent of their abilities really hits home during the latter part of ‘Snake Arms Woman’, when a meaty riff collides with higher pitched yet fuzzed up lead work, creating a metallic assault not too far short of classic. As with the other tracks, the bottom end from Bong Monkey’s bass should be fatter and far more audible than it actually is, but that’s more to do with budgetary restraints than actual talent.
Likewise, the opening riff from ‘Far Away From Dreaming (Giant Spheres and Humanoids)’ has such a big presence, whether there’s a song to back it up is of little importance. Somewhere amid the truck-sized grooves, vocalist King Lizzy pushes his rather limited, scratchy voice to the limit. While it’s not always the easiest voice with which to come to grips – often sounding like a relatively lo-fi southern growl meeting an ugly, gurgling rasp – he does his very best, especially on the quietest moments when he’s been given a few spacey vocal filters. The other better vocal moments come courtesy of a theatrical spoken word interlude during ‘Mountain Calling’, where Son of a Witch seem perfectly happy to highlight any potential silliness behind such an overblown metal subgenre.
Even though these guys aren’t particularly big on instant hooks and the EP has been recorded on a slightly smaller budget than this kind of larger than life stoner rock often deserves, musically, this EP is very accomplished. While fans of the genre could possibly have a reasonably good stab at guessing what ‘Son of a Witch’ sounds like before hitting the play button, it’s still an impressive debut release.
Take a listen via the streaming widget below. If you like what you hear, it can be downloaded on a “pay what you want” basis. Send the band a couple of bucks if you can.