“Ouija” is the debut album from Dead Witches, a female-fronted four piece that includes former members of bands such as Electric Wizard and With The Dead, with Virginia Monti (Psychedelic Witchcraft) on vocals. With that kind of music pedigree, you'd expect something a bit good. Described by the band themselves, Oujia is “full of doomy Slow grooves”, and they're not wrong – this album has doomy slow grooves a-plenty, paired with Virginia Monti's restrained yet strong vocals.
Rather than being a drawn-out, lethargic, lumbering beast of a typical doom record, this is more of a groovy, ghoulish metal album with great guitar hooks. Think less of solemn, hooded faces standing around a coffin, and more of a witch reanimating the corpse before everyone at the wake gets drunk and stoned and starts furiously head-banging. If the Munsters were into metal, they'd probably have this in their collection somewhere.
Despite being pretty much a doom metal record, this album is actually relatively fast-paced, with only six songs, none of which go over the seven-minute mark apart from the closing song “A World of Darkness”. This is an album that grabs you and brings you along for the ride, rather than letting you passively sit back and listen.
The album intro kicks off with some wailing guitars and a haunting bass line that sets the tone nicely for the next songs to come before moving onto the album proper with the simply titled “Dead”. This track kicks things off gently with some plodding drums and classic doom riffs before we hear Virginia's great vocals for the first time. There is some pretty great guitar work here that sets high expectations for the rest of the album.
“Drawing Down the Moon' continues in much the same way before we reach the title track which shows some decent lead guitar work and a great groove in the middle section. “Mind Funeral” whacks the heaviness up a notch, and finally the dark and brooding “A World of Darkness” brings us to a close.
This is classic slice of prime doom metal with added grooviness and little bit of classic retro horror feeling thrown in for good measure. “Ouija” is great debut from Dead Witches that sets high expectations for their next release. Given what's on show here, this band could be in for great things in the near future. This is an album I wouldn't be surprised to see on a few doom or stoner 'best-of' lists for 2017 once everyone gets a taste of this new outfit.
Ouija is released 10th February through Heavy Psych Sounds Records