King Witch - Under The Mountain album review

Supercharged doom with a vocal fireball up front

Cover art for King Witch - Under The Mountain album

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

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 Chantler

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.