Oozing from the gritty North West of England, the whiskey soaked, sludge metallers Iron Witch are about to unleash their debut EP on an unsuspecting public, through Witch Hunter Records. Taking influence from such luminaries as Black Sabbath, Sleep and St.Vitus, mixed in with a healthy slice of Black Flag and Eyehategod, and you start to get the picture… So, what does the 5-track “Single Malt” EP have in its locker?
As the opening guitar feedback gives way to a few bars of the sludgy groove of ‘A .45 To Pay The Rent’, you know you’re in for a dirty treat! The “Blacks” of both Flag and Sabbath are evident in the guitar riffs and the vitriolic screams crawling across the bluesy sludgefest. The track is effective in its simplicity and, despite its 4 and a half minute length, it is over before you know it. More guitar feedback introduces the title track ‘Single Malt’ before giving way to an up-tempo monster groove riff that’s insanely addictive… the venomous vocals ride the maelstrom of the verse, before the groove returns. The breakdown mid-track is respite from the whiskey-fuelled mayhem, but only briefly…
In keeping with tradition, a cacophony of prolonged guitar feedback slices open the top of your head, exposing your brain to the oozing, low down, dirty bass introduction of ‘Booze Blues’. A slow paced behemoth of doomy, sludgy blues that could quite easily have just crawled out of a Louisiana swamp! The fourth track of the EP, ‘Jailhouse’ again uses the guitar feedback and bass combo to announce it arrival, soon to be followed by the rest of the band. The pace has returned and the track almost feels upbeat, with only the vocals holding it back from allowing a glimmer of a smile appear in the corner of it’s mouth. Imagine Rage Against The Machine drenched in sour mash, playing drop G tuning, with Henry Rollins, in one of his more shouty moments, on vocals and that draws a kind of five year old’s doodle sketch of the ‘Jailhouse’ sound.
If it ain’t broke then why fix it! Yes, another guitar feedback fuelled introduction to ‘The Cruelty Of Mankind’ leads into the dirtiest of dirty riffs and when the vocals join in it makes you feel as though you have soiled yourself… and I mean that in a good way! Slow, deliberate sludgy riffs and drums with the acerbic vocals riding roughshod over the top pummel you into submission, before the track has the audacity to speed up mid-way through to finish of the job of leaving you in a bloody mess on the floor! And then to add insult to injury ‘The Cruelty Of Mankind’ slows down again, as if in a mock pointing and laughing kind of way!
“Single Malt” is a simple, straightforward sludgefest with no gimmicks, no tricks and no nonsense. If you like you music dirty, sludgy and reeking of whiskey, which we do, then you’re going the love Iron Witch. A limited pressing of 150 4-panel gatefold CDs will be available, so make you get in there fast before they sell out, which they will!