In honor of 4/20, it’s only appropriate that we dig into everybody’s favorite psychedelic/stoner/doom/death metal band (Right?), Acid Witch, and their 2010 release, aptly titled ‘Stoned’. Even in the stoner realm of metal, Acid Witch are quite an anomaly. Few bands, if any, are as openly willing to indulge in the kind of subject matter that these guys are so well-defined by. It goes without saying that this band isn’t for everyone and that’s just as well. The conditions presented by this band on this record have a way of dividing up the masses, but in this process, we certainly find out an awful lot about those who stick around for the payoff.
The record opens with “Satanic Faith”, an instrumental piece that features some sampled dialogue to lay the groundwork for the rest of the record. This piece feeds into the next track, “Witchfynder Finder”, featuring that trademark riffing that fans of this kind of music crave so voraciously. After this track, we get “Trick or Treat”, which opens with an organ passage that screams of decades gone past. By this point in the record, it becomes clear that the band are putting on absolutely no airs about who they are and what they’re attempting to present to the world. Musically, they hold very close to the chest old-school metal; the riffing on this record comes straight from Tony Iommi and, of course, the subject matter comes straight from Black Sabbath’s timeless track “Sweet Leaf”. Essentially, the stoner metal vein of metal music is the direct successor to this legendary track. If Black Sabbath had taken “Sweet Leaf” as a building block on which they continued to push in the same context, you’ve got what would undoubtedly be the essential ingredients of every stoner metal band. The cool thing about a band like Acid Witch, is that they’re so extreme in terms of their subject matter and presentation, that they almost come off as parody. This will definitely divide people, but there’s no denying that it’s their strength. These guys are a celebration of all things considered prohibited by polite society. You can’t talk about this record without mentioning the most gloriously ridiculous title on the record, “Metal Movie Marijuana Massacre Meltdown”, a track that best captures what exactly it is that this band is all about. There should be enough organ on this record to please old-school psychedelic rock fans as well as enough guttural vocals to please the more flexible extreme metal aficionados.
This record would definitely piss a lot of people off, but this is exactly its strength. If you’re someone who finds this record and this kind of music to your liking, consider yourself in the same corner as yours truly. The only real drawback of this record is the fact that it can become a bit monotonous at times. However, the band seem to be quite aware of this and are able to inject some fresh blood whenever this becomes apparent. The fact is that bands like Acid Witch are a breath of fresh air, mainly in the fact that they don’t take themselves too seriously. One of the most striking realities about the world of music circa the 21st century, metal or otherwise, is that there tends to be a presumed sense of seriousness in the context of what’s going on in the music. This band turns this notion completely on its head and simply asks us all to sit back and enjoy ourselves and, of course, indulging in a bit of mind-altering substances. When did these noble concepts ever hurt anyone?