Get Prep’d: Psychedelic Witchcraft, Haast’s Eagled, and Lotus Thief
Welcome to the SIXTH edition of Get Prep’d; we hope you’ve got the good SENSE to pay attention to these upcoming records. Today we’re going to get you ready for some upcoming doom, psych, and stoner metal releases, one of which happens to be my most anticipated release of 2016. Get ready for new music from Psychedelic Witchcraft, Haast’s Eagled, and Lotus Thief.
Combining the intrigue of tarot, the allure of all things occult and the seemingly timeless charm of the 70’s on their debut EP Black Magic Man, Italy’s Psychedelic Witchcraft have an appeal that is nigh on sorcery. The aforementioned release from early last year consisted of 4 tracks, two of which were upbeat rockers and the other two were of a laid-back bluesy retrospective nature. The combination of the warm fuzzy guitars and the low-key drums however cool on their own, would have a much lower chance of standing out in the deck had they not have been dealt with the drawcard of high priestess Virginia Monti’s powerful and spellbinding voice. She manages to colour the mood that the guitars set at all times, her presence always strong but never over-dominating the track. Considering she not only made the artwork for the release but also produced the EP, her talent is clear. A bewitching charisma seeps through the already vibrant stoner riffing as she beckons you to down the left hand path.
So far they’ve released a couple of teaser tracks and this latest acid-laced video clip. The track kind of settles somewhere between the two distinct styles on the first release, the unifying feature being the strength of the hooks. The band also released a tribute to Lemmy just days after his death late last year, covering a track called “The Dark Lord” from his pre-Hawkwind band Sam Gopal. If all this hasn’t already convinced you to check out at least one of these tracks, you’re playing the fool. For those that have and are now craving more, you don’t have too long to wait, as Psychedelic Witchcraft’s first LP The Vision will be overturned on April 29th.
In the meantime, you can head over to their bandcamp page and pick up the EP by clicking below or give them some love on facebook and tell them the toilet sent you.
Early last year I scored two of the best stoner/doom albums I’ve had for quite some time (both from the mighty SMOHLG) during a recommendation swap, one being Mammoth Storm (check them out here) and the other a four-piece outfit from South Wales named Haast’s Eagled. Start the killer track “Viking” below and read on..
Huge riffs sail atop of drumming that pounds like tidal waves hitting rocky outcrops of coastline, while interesting raspy verse vocals give way to more traditionally sung (Mastodon-like) chorus lines. The bass-heavy sound rumbles through the mix and will have your skull vibrating in the best possible way. Now, while you are being swept away I’ve done a bit of looking into Haast’s Eagled, and it seems this 2013 EP was their debut and sadly went fairly unnoticed, which is a shame really as there’s quite a bit of diversity amongst the four tracks. Some of this variety takes the form of sedate sections where calmer waters prevail and submerged guitar tones strum out curious introspective chord patterns. Whereas, the heavy third song “Tracking the Footsteps of Goliath” is reminiscent of Bongripper‘s dense plodding meanderings on 2014’s Miserable.
Turns out the Haast’s Eagle is an extinct avian species from New Zealand; fossil evidence shows that it was the largest species of eagle ever known to exist and died out around 1400CE (not long after saving Middle-Earth for the umpteenth time). The bird’s size is thought to have been due to the size of its prey, the extinct flightless bird known as the Moa, which weighed over 200kgs. When the Maori people arrived they naturally hunted the Moa into extinction (obviously to supply their B’Dubs outlets with giant chunks of dead bird), and thus the Haast’s Eagle died out too. The obscene size of both birds is an example of island gigantism, and when listening to the immense sound that these UK doom metallers create, it’s no wonder they chose this huge animal for their moniker.
Last week I received notification that unlike their namesake, Haast’s Eagled are most definitely extant, for on the 27th of May they will unveil their second release titled II For Mankind. While the band are about to premiere a new track titled ‘The Uncle’ on BBC radio, there are currently no new tracks available online but you can head over to their bandcamp page and pre-order what is sure to be a enormous offering of the doom you crave.
After combining forces for a track on Botanist‘s 2012 album Doom In Bloom, the partnership of Bezaelith and Otrebor has unfurled into a beautifully delicate yet powerfully transformative 2-piece outfit known as Lotus Thief. First coming to my attention just prior to the 2014 release of their acclaimed debut full-length Rervm, the San Franciscans play a supernal style of metal that is rinsed in psychedelic overtones and a dark otherwordly atmosphere.
The supremely talented Bezaelith handles vocals, guitars, bass, synth and writes the lyrics. Her riffing blends a variety of styles, from contemplative delay-drenched melodic odysseys to spirited upbeat acid-freakouts. Percussionist Otrebor lays down his usual accomplice, the hammered dulcimer, in favour of picking up the sticks to put on an exceptional display with the drums. While the music could potentially hold-up on its own, it is Bazaelith’s mesmerising vocal display that steals the show for Lotus Thief. Her solemn yet ethereal tones are the perfect accompaniment to the music. Now I know the words transcendent and ethereal get thrown around quite a bit these days, but I would gladly remove them from all descriptions just to be able to use them for Lotus Thief’s sublime sound.
Rervm followed a profoundly interesting concept for me, as it was based on a text called De Rarum Natura written by Roman philosopher Lucretius, who lived in the 1st century B.C. The title of the text translates to “On The Nature Of Things” and from what I understand, attempts to explain the universe using but two fundamentals, atom and void, without the prevailing religious connotation of the times (Link found me a translated copy a couple of years ago here). Each of the 6 tracks represents one of the 6 books of the total text. The intricacies of the ancient script are reflected in the music, which was a veritable macrocosm of both ambience and progression.
Details of the next album have been scarce. We are yet to discover the title or the release date, but one thing we do know is that the master recording session was completed in early February and they are currently working on pressing the vinyl. Therefore, we can assume a release is only just around the corner. Whatever the case, this album is my most anticipated release of 2016, and I’m sure some of you will find yourselves in a similar position after succumbing to the allure of Lotus Thief’s enchantingly warm chinook winds.
For the meantime, you can head over to their bandcamp page and listen to an interview or just stare wistfully at the screen. I’ll be there too, clicking refresh like it is my one calling in life.