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WITCH (Buy CDs by this artist)
Witch (Teepee) 2006

Vermont doom metal band Witch consists of Kyle Thomas on vocals and guitars, Dave Sweetapple on bass, Asa Irons on guitar and J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr) on, um, drums. While it's hard to accept that the old fart resisted laying down a single lick on the band's self-titled debut (metal being the one genre of sub-rock which has never devalued or mocked the majesty of the lead guitar), Witch is a grand album that revels in metal tradition without being regressive about it. Comparisons to Sabbath don't wash; Witch is a great deal less focused. Their compositions are detangled, hazed-out mantras that drift strung-out and lazy through the subterranean echelons of Witchcraft's sonic spelunking and Dead Meadow's slowly unwrapping chaos. But this ain't stoner rock, and there ain't none of that Southern scrum metal bands get distracted by too often these days. Mascis, who started his career as a drummer, does a respectable job abusing the skins, and Irons' astounding résumé -- from avant folk to lo-fi whispers and now metal -- may just prove him some sort of genius. Or the band could just be a big joke; it's too soon to tell.

[Jack Partain]
   See also Dinosaur Jr.