Check Them Out
Saturday, Oct. 20 at Quarter’s Rock ‘n Roll Palace with Castle (San Francisco) and Moon Curse at 9 p.m.
What’s The Big Deal?
Portland’s premiere doom band has been churning out steaming slabs of bluesy metal for 15 years, but it wasn’t until emerging from a hiatus in 2009 that the group’s core solidified and it began hitting its well-earned stride. It was that year that new member Uta Plotkin brought her mile-high vocals into the fray, elevating Witch Mountain from a better-than-average Sabbath-worshipping metal act to something far more compelling. Plotkin’s dynamic voice is just as at home in the rafters as it is in the cellar, transitioning seamlessly from a crystal clear wail to a devilish growl. And while it is Plotkin’s vocals that will initially turn heads, the searing, 20-ton riffs oozing from Rob Wrong’s guitar will tilt listeners permanently Mountain-wards.
Witch Mountain’s long-overdue sophomore album, South of Salem, was self-released in 2011. NPR named it the “#4 Best Metal Album of 2011,” and the band signed to legendary metal label Profound Lore soon after. Profound Lore released the band’s newest album, Cauldron of the Wild, in June.
How’s the latest album?
Cauldron of the Wild is a heaving mass of blues-streaked metal that casts Wrong’s ferocious soloing and Plotkin’s operatic vocals in a pair of fuming spotlights. Plotkin, the Adele of doom metal, is the album’s clear MVP; but Wrong’s tireless lead guitar work and dinosaurian riffage ensure that the songs never fall back on vocals alone. While the first four tracks are fairly traditional heavy metal head-bangers – “Veil of the Forgotten” being a particularly balls-to-the-wall highlight – later offerings “Aurelia” and “Never Know” cut the teeth-rattling metal with some quiet introspection, adding yet another wrinkle to Witch Mountain’s already difficult-to-define contribution to the genre.
What People Are Saying
“Uta Plotkin’s voice should be declared a national treasure, of the doomed nation if not the whole damn American music scene. Bluesy, ballsy, sensual, and commanding, this lady’s powerful pipes make this band what it is, and when she chooses to exercise the fullness of her dizzyingly elastic range (as in, for example, her rumbling death growls on “Veil of the Forgotten”), the result is electrifying.” – Pitchfork
“…the band are poised to leave a mark not only on the fertile Pacific Northwest underground, but the doom genre as a whole.” – The Obelisk
Listen to Witch Mountain here.