They say history repeats itself. But with
music, it isn’t so much a repetition as it is the new generation hearing
something old and making it their own. Regardless of genre, modern music is an
amalgamation of bits and pieces from past sounds twisted into something new.
Whether that’s a good or bad thing is often subjective, but the process is well
Which brings us to the sub-genre of
psychedelic metal. Also called stoner metal, fuzz metal, neo-psych rock, etc.
it’s equal parts desert metal (à la Kyuss), heavy metal (think classics like
Black Sabbath or Deep Purple), along with a mix of influences from delta blues
to jam bands. Psychedelic metal has no concrete definition.
Nashville, Tennessee’s All Them Witches has a sound deeply rooted in both blues and classic metal: stripped-down, driving rhythms, downtuned, fuzzed-out bass, huge, shredding guitar riffs—all matched by haunting vocals. Playing to a sold-out crowd at Washington D.C.’s favorite funeral parlor-turned-music venue, Rock & Roll Hotel, All Them Witches kicked off the night with “Funeral for a Great Drunken Bird” (from 2013’s self-released Lightning At The Door), a subtle eulogy written as a slow-building opener. Frontman Charles Michael Parks Jr. (known simply as “Parks” to bandmates and fans) delivers the lyrics in haunting tones, not quite singing and not quite speaking but perfectly matching the driving instrumentation on tracks like “3-5-7,” “Diamond,” and “Am I Going Up?”
Favorite points of the night were an
unexpectedly amazing closer in “Blood And Sand / Milk And Endless Water,” a
track off their third album Dying Surfer
Meets His Maker, and the always amazing “When God Comes Back” a song you
have to see live to truly experience its power.
Cut me up primitive I’ll die like a slave Riding on the wings of that Jesus snake Ten thousand souls in your right hand Never lost ground to no cold blooded man Ten thousand souls in your right hand Juggernaut child in a fragile land Everything I see is just a part of it Every word I breathe is just a part of it I saw her drink from that cup of light So I know she still exists
– “When God Comes Back” from Lightning at the Door (2013)
All Them Witches isn’t a band to mosh or crowd
surf to—the impact of their shows is in the energy the songs carry when
performed live, each building into the next, the crowd feeding off it and
vibing as one. They’re a must-see band for any fan of classic psych rock or
metal, with a live energy that words can never fully capture.
The band is currently on the European leg of their tour, with dates in the UK, followed by a brief stint back in the U.S. in North Carolina and Tennessee in June before heading back to Europe throughout the summer.