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King Witch - Under The Mountain album review

Supercharged doom with a vocal fireball up front

Cover art for King Witch - Under The Mountain album

Formed in 2015, this Scottish quartet released a remarkably assured EP the same year, and although the band’s set-up – fiery frontwoman surrounded by bearded male musicians – has become de rigueur in doom circles, this is grounds for celebration, not cynicism. Often in this music singing is a scrappy afterthought, overshadowed by the inevitable priority: riffs. This new generation of singers have raised the genre’s vocal bar, and with Laura Donnelly upfront, King Witch inch it higher. Sounding like she may have been kicked out of a 60s soul group for twatting the manager, Laura’s breathtaking husky pipes convey equal measures of wisdom, heartache, scorn and fury, though the music mostly contents itself with the latter; aside from the creepy-crawly true doom of Approaching The End and Ancients’ acoustic jangle, satisfyingly brute-force whirlwind tempos dominate.

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.