Dying Surfer Meets His Maker

All Them Witches

New West Records, 2016

http://www.allthemwitches.org

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/26/2017

In just a few shorts years, these Nashville rockers have released several fantastic albums and secured themselves as one of the best in the area of modern psyche-rock and beyond. Although they've had louder, more aggressive moments in their career, this first album on the always impressive New West label has the band progressing into calmer territory that's unpredictable and constantly shifting. nbtc__dv_250

Album opener “Call Me Star” is proof of that gentleness, opening with warm, aching pedal steel and serene acoustic guitars before subtly moving into a more forceful tone. “El Centro” follows and is a more dense, thicker rock tune that gets off to a rumbling start. At over eight minutes with no vocals, it's full of hypnotic rhythms, psyche-rock droning, and a minor sludge atmosphere. The band then changes directions into the more straightforward blues, punk, and Southern rock of “Dirt Preachers,” a definite standout on the album.

The middle of the disc brings us the reflective and dark “This Is Where It Falls Apart” with its harmonicas and spoken word, before the haunting, acoustic strumming of “Mellowing.” “Open Passages” is another album highlight and starts out like a folk-rock anthem that delivers memorable guitar melodies and gloomy keys.

The end of the album unleashes “Instrumental 2 (Welcome To The Caveman Future,” which sounds more futuristic than prehistoric, and “Talisman,” which continues the mood with six minutes of soft, soothing Americana meets hazy rock that wanders quite a bit but never leaves the listener hanging. “Blood And Sand/Milk And Endless” exits with a dramatic atmosphere where feedback, jam band sensibilities, and meticulous song craft are on full display.

Though the band retains their stoner and metal background here, there's many more classic rock, blues, and Southern ideas run through their filter of folk, psyche, and rootsy rock. Fans of Pink Floyd, Americana, and even sludgy metal will be impressed here. While the vocals are used sparingly and strategically, the instrumentation is incredibly unique, ever-changing, and alluring.

Rating: A-

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