Which Window? Witch Window!
Get ready for a rip-roaring look into the Calgary black ‘n roll project Witch Window, a raw as fuck blackened project made by two of my favorite anarchists, Chris H (music) and Espi Kvlt (vocals/lyrics). When will Chris get a cool pseudonym? I guess you don’t need one when you make riffs like this. I’ll be going over their two major releases this year, the first being Rock N’ Roll Hell released back in July and the second is a split titled Pay It No Mind coming out on November 29th and featuring another lovely friend Erin from Rage Of Devils. Both of these releases are put out by Chris and Espi’s own label Life Eternal Records which is primarily used to host and distribute merch for their absurd amount of projects. So raw black metal fans rejoice, as I open a portal to abrasive blackened music made by badass people. Some real straight to cassette antifascist anarchist trans rights shit.
Where to even begin with this colossal fuck you to the music scene and world? I guess with “WAþ”—a nonbinary black ‘n roll cover of “WAP.” This band is really horny, look at these lyrics:
“Open up my þussy for penetration from Satan’s cock.
No one gets me wet like this.
My emotional support dick.
Legal anywhere. Wet everywhere.
Clean-up on aisle six (six six).”
Beautiful. Poetic even. If you’re expecting the song to come anywhere near close to the poppy rap sound then don’t, it’s a blackened dirge through and through with Espi’s howling screams that suit the lofi production amazingly. They have a level of distortion on their voice that is sickly wet. Whatever lyrics they are presenting they say with their whole chest and nothing less. The topics of this album go through a whole range of personal stuff. The metal icons who got many of us into the genre on the title track and “The Man With Six Fingers”, horny songs like “WAþ” and anarchist political stances such as on the obviously titled track “This Is Anarchy”.
It’s all wrapped up neatly with Chris’ knack for that bouncing blackened rock sound and old school inspired groove, there just isn’t a duo more suited to each other than this. Both of them are dirty dark miscreants who are passionate about making righteous music with whatever they have at their disposal. They learned how to do it themselves and now they just won’t stop doing it.
I particularly enjoy their less… egotistical idea of anarchy with lines like “This is anarchy/Ignore the propaganda/Many gods, no masters” which will no doubt challenge the hardcore atheist anarchists on Reddit. Good luck instigating any kind of revolution without amassing numbers, including those with religious beliefs or who embrace other kinds of spirituality. You might find they make up the majority of the population. Though I suspect the use of god here refers particularly to gods of rock and metal, I think the point is you can explore many things without letting it have mastery over you. The lyric of “Never let a politician tell you who you are” presents the core ideology without trying to dictate the “rules” of anarchy like utter nerds. Moving on from politics, “In League With Lucifer” is another track where we are fucking the devil very explicitly. “League” here appears to be quite the euphemism.
It’s such a personal music experience that invokes a lot of music heroes for the two artists but also explores this custom world of sex, death and love where the most devilish stuff shines just as brightly as the unexpectedly tender moments. A solid start for the new project showing a cohesive aesthetic and aggressive but earnest attitude. The album cover alone should give you an idea of the music worship going on here, it’s a love letter to rock and metal much in the way the game Brütal Legend was.
First things first, you’re probably wanting me to mention the obvious here: this is a split between Witch Window and Rage Of Devils and they both have sweeeet logos. Also, there’s a giant fantasy genitalia dreamed up from the mind of Espi Kvlt and made art by Astrid Grim. As soon as I saw this artwork I was stoked about this album and the cassette for it. There’s been some bold statement album covers in the past couple of years but this one takes the cake. Musically speaking, prepare to get repeatedly drowned and edged because this is a rough ride through fuck country. Espi’s screaming on the Witch Window side of the split is every bit as unhinged as on Rock N’ Roll Hell but they’ve somehow managed to make their voice even wetter with generally longer notes and nice whisper vocals. If it’s not clear to you, this album is very gender-orientated which is something I am obsessed with. Basically Gendercore. We’re talking truwu kvlt black metal.
The drumming gets a lot more of a workout on this album due to the pace being slower a lot of the time but the build-ups on the percussion are nice and I love the little accents with intervals during the more quiet parts. Chris has managed to deliver a listening experience where everything is there and can be heard quite clearly but sounds like the dirtiest version possible. The abrasive nature of Witch Widow has really ramped up here. There’s a lyric repeated on “Mada And Eve” that says “Be gay, do crime”—which is my mantra. I’ll never get sick of queer ‘outsider’ music. How did it ever become that the most popular black metal people are corny-ass dudes who adore the status quo? I thought this genre was about being rebellious, not scared of touching your own asshole. I’m sorry, but you don’t get to say you “conquered” life until you’ve at least experienced masturbation 2.0 bare minimum.
The title track “Pay It No Mind” is a collab track between Witch Window and Rage Of Devils, an unholy combination that opens with an empowering sample from an interview with Marsha P Johnson in 1973 . Espi and Erin take turns of vocals on this track to give voice to their gender rage, fighting for the right to be left alone by the invasive cishet questioning gaze. Also to fight gender cops who police what and what doesn’t constitute nonbinary or gender expression. Vamp rips them a new one in their verse with ““I wouldn’t have guessed you’re trans.” I’m not a lab experiment.” and these lyrics perfectly sum up the album and it’s title: “Pay it no mind/I’m a queer/That’s all you need to know/We are here/We are queer/We’ll pick up a gun and start a revolution.” Erin’s spite-drenched vocals work in perfect disgusting harmony with Espi’s.
That is a solid midway point that leads into Erin’s side of the split with her project Rage Of Devils who I covered earlier in the year with much praise for their LP. She continues her raw style of harrowing black metal jams. “Rot Among The Leaves And Bones” is some of her most captivating work yet with a counting rhyming scheme at one point that is way more fun than I’m used to abysmal black metal being. It’s a big rock aspect thrown into this black metal mix and that makes the second half of the split line up well with Witch Window. I love how she will often break into this free-flowing black metal vocal style that sounds loose and yet highly energetic. When she goes off like that it starts to feel like the instruments swirl angrily around her with a sudden fever. I think you’ll find in terms of raw black metal solo projects, Erin and Rage Of Devils are an impressive part of that scene. So much moxie.
From beginning to end you can expect a primal listening experience full of hate and love. There’s no pretentious nature here, it’s simply three strange beautiful people making music on their own terms regardless of the outcome. It’s musical catharsis from true music fans.