Witchrot - Hollow (2021)
Witchrot are a four-piece stoner doom band from Toronto. They released a four-track, self-titled ep back in 2018 then underwent a bit of an upheavel, bassist Peter Turik moved to guitar and he and vocalist Lea Alyssandra Reto were joined by new bassist Cam Alford and drummer Nick Kervin. This lineup are responsible for the band's first full-length, Hollow. The album is a much more focussed affair than the psychedelia-laced ep and is much better for it in my opinion, the former sounding at times more like an extended jam session.
The album kicks of with my favourite track, Million Shattered Swords - the gentle intro with Lea crooning softly soon erupts into a mighty doom riff and we are off on a crushing journey of psychedelic heaviness as the band maximise both volume and distortion to debillitating effect, the vocals soaring majestically over all this sonic devastation. They take the (increasing jaded-sounding) female-fronted stoner doom template and feed it steroids, bringing in some real sludgy heaviness to add to the groove-laden stoner riffage. Lea Alyssandra Reto's vocals are especially powerful, reminding quite a bit of one of my favourite female vocalists, Mia Zapata of punk band The Gits. The engine room of the rhythm section is strong, especially the bass which often has a driving, kinetic quality. The drums, sadly, could be a little better produced, they sound a bit muted and muddy to me and often struggle to make an impression. Still, this is a pretty impressive debut effort from a band who are trying to put a bit more oomph into the stoner doom scene and to which end they have been quite successful.