Fast-rising cult heroines Witch Fever have made this year well and truly their own. Bagging huge support slots with massive names such as My Chemical Romance and Poppy, the Manchester quartet have been firing out their unique brand of feminist, rage-fuelled doom punk across the UK and beyond.
In November 2022, we attended their intimate show in London, which solidified our view that Witch Fever are one of, if not "the best young band in British heavy music right now". And, with the arrival of their acclaimed and devilishly doomy, genre-bending debut album Congregation, released the previous month via Music For Nations, a bright future already feels guaranteed.
To get to know the band a little better, we spoke to Witch Fever frontwoman Amy Walpole to find out about all the music that has influenced her as not only a musician, but as a passionate campaigner of intersectional feminism and LGBTQ+ rights.
“Cancer Bats were the first heavy band that I got into. My dad took me to a Billy Talent gig and they were supporting. My dad went up to [CB vocalist] Liam Cormier and was fangirling over Pneumonia Hawk. I remember being 13 and so embarrassed! We just got off tour with Cancer Bats, and I played that song with them onstage, so the whole thing is a real full-circle moment for me, and my dad was backstage watching. It was super-special."
“I first heard Ho99o9’s Knuckle Up when I was getting a tattoo of ivy on my arm. The tattoo was so painful because it was going over the bones in my hand, so I was focusing on that song to get through: ‘Knuckle up, you’re going to finish it.'"
"I love Sugarstone's That’s Intense because the chorus riff is just fucking sick! They’re from Manchester and have a weird sound. There’s an element of pop, punk and electronic going on as well as synth, but they do heavier stuff really well."
“I discovered Pussy Riot's 1312 when I was getting more into politics. That song defines a time in my life where feminism became something that was beyond me, beyond my experience, because up until I was around 20 or 21 years of age, I hadn’t really opened myself up to the fact that there were all these other experiences. It was a real learning curve."
"Dustin O'Halloran's Fossils is special to me because it’s from the film Ammonite, a lesbian period drama I love about this woman [Mary Anning] who was a fossil hunter. She got fucked over by men because they would make her an offer and then put their name on [her discoveries] in museums."
“NONAME is incredible. She runs a radical book club and gives free books to people who are incarcerated to politically engage them. Rainforest is really powerful, and I think the chorus is particularly special and quite sad: ‘Everybody dies a little and I just want to dance tonight.’ She writes of such pain. Her life’s work is being an activist, but she shows that it’s still important to have a space where you can have fun."
“Unfucktheworld was the first song of Angel Olsen's that I heard. I was 19 or 20 and had just moved to Manchester. I was still trying to figure everything out. Angel writes so well about heartbreak. The song reminds me that it’s sometimes good to let yourself wallow in your feelings for a little bit."
“I got into Basement when I was still a teenager. I heard the acoustic version of Yoke first and it’s my favourite version of the song. I love the melody of the lyrics, and I remember being younger and listening to it again and again, feeling sorry for myself. The first verse is ‘Gasping for air, choking on my indecision / Hide me in my room and forget me,’ which is so teen angst, definitely what I was feeling!"
"Miserable is a project by King Woman’s Kristina Esfandiari. We both grew up going to a charismatic church and had similar experiences within it, which is probably why I can relate to her lyrics. The lyrics of Pain Farm are dark and all about men being shit, as well about body types. The song itself is very dark and grungy. It kind of feels like Halloween."
“Pianos Become The Teeth have been my favourite band for so long. I’ll Get By is probably the saddest song on The Lack Long After, but it’s so beautiful, and it’s got this really painful screaming. There’s a part where the lyrics are ‘I could love and drown in your goddamn smile lines / But I think I burned up watching you rallying to stay alive.’ The way singer Kyle Durfey writes is like you’re in the feeling with him, even if you can’t personally relate to it, and that’s something I’m trying to learn as a lyricist.
Witch Fever's new album Congregation is out now via Sony's Music For Nations.