ACID WITCH – Stoned
“Stoned” is the second full-length release from Detroit doom-merchants Acid Witch. This time around the guys have gone for a straight-forward approach. The tracks are simple, catchy numbers that mix groove-laden doom with psychedelic keyboards and retro horror movie sound bites.
From the very start it is obvious that these guys are here to have a good time. Track titles like "Witchfynder Finder’ and ‘Metal Movie Marijuana Massacre Meltdown’ make that clear before you’ve even taken the CD out of the case. Unfortunately, as the intro comes to an end and second song "Witchfynder Finder" begins, we realize that it bears more than a passing resemblance to Cathedral’s "Hopkins (The Witchfinder General)".
The guitar sound is heavily distorted, perfectly warm and fuzzy for a light-hearted stoner album like this. The keyboards evoke that Hammond organ vibe of Deep Purple or early Rainbow (although without the virtuosity of either, sadly). Slasher Dave’s vocals grate like the lid being removed from a sarcophagus and the sound bites remind you of the days when horror movie special effects were limited to green backlighting and buckets of fake blood.
Overall, the formula is pretty hit and miss. Track three, "Trick or Treat" is one of the weaker offerings and coming on the heels of what is a fairly blatant rip-off does little to endear the listener. However, as you get further into the album songs like "Thundering Hooves", "Metal Movie Marijuana Massacre Meltdown" and "If Hell Exists" begin to show the band’s strengths. Each of them has some element – a spliffed-out sludgy riff, a rocking refrain or weed-induced solo that makes them memorable and enjoyable.
And that is really the key to Acid Witch. Although the song writing is patchy and some of the riffs wouldn’t make it onto a Trouble B-Side, the fact that Acid Witch don’t take themselves too seriously means you don’t have to. You are free to suspend your judgement and join the fun. Just be careful – this album will give you the munchies…