Cauldron of the Wild…
Witch Mountain
Review

Formed in 1997 by Rob Wrong (guitar and vocals) and Nate Carson (drums), Portland’s Witch Mountain soon garnered immense critical acclaim for debut Come the Mountain (released in 2001) yet found themselves in limbo and a period of inactivity which lasted until the addition of lead vocalist Uta Plotkin in 2009. Second effort South of Salem (2010) put the band on the doom map and now they offer up Cauldron of the Wild for your consideration. And boy, do you need to consider it.

Rich in texture and nuance, Cauldron of the Wild is a delightfully traditional tinged doom record (just check out that artwork) that shimmers with a slow bluesy edge right out of the 1970s. Burning with a steamy swagger and a forceful narrative essence, Cauldron of the Wild resonates with a languid and sultry atmosphere perfect for those long hot summer days. Plotkin’s unearthly voice delves into deep and opulent tones – “Beekeeper” – yet within the same track can soar to heights that leave you questioning whether this is the same person. It’s Plotkin’s vocal that gives Witch Mountain their almost occultic edge; her range is wide and it gives the band a ritualistic feeling that calls to mind The Wounded Kings, Royal Thunder and the masters themselves, Black Sabbath.

“Shelter” breathes with a soulful sigh, Plotkin given space to wrap her vocal around the simple yet powerfully huge bass (Neal Munson) riffs that echo in the chasms opened up by this expressive quartet. Cauldron of the Wild smoulders with a sensual energy that lies in the occasional psychedelic guitar lines and a sparsely used but deeply effective harsh and growled vocal on “Veil of the Forgotten.” The mournful “Aurelia” flickers like a sorrowful ode to times long past; gently picked guitar lines fall away from sublimely sweet flashes of electrically charged and thunderous bass notes whilst writhing with a fantastically somber mood.

Cauldron of the Wild closes on the minimal “Never Know.” Sporadic drum beats fill the breaks left by the irregular strikes of guitar and the infrequent bass notes, all whilst Plotkin intones a story tinged with a spiritual rhythm and blues aesthetic. Climbing guitar riffs cut through the incandescent atmosphere to bring this majestic record to a close in ardent heat and delicious melody. Exquisite.

Now available to order from Profound Lore Records.

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