All Them Witches represent something special to me, if only because their beautiful 2017 record Sleeping Through the War was one of the first that I reviewed when I decided to launch this blog. And already at that time I expressed words of appreciation for the band, their sound, and their album.
Less than two years after, I found myself in front of a new LP from the band, and it was one of the most beautiful surprises I had in the recent times. First of all because it’s always good when a rock band is experiencing a phase of creative inspiration, and in this respect All Them Witches were able to compose and record a new set of beautiful songs at a relatively short distance from their previous release. But even more surprising to me was to discover that in the short lapse of a year and half these guys from Nashville have made a gigantic step forward in their musical evolution and released a record that has the full potential to project the band into the Olympus of the most important bands of contemporary stoner rock.
The stylistic growth experienced by All Them Witches took place through the development of an absolutely unique and personal musical language, an evident evolution of the style that they had already presented in their previous works but that only today, arrived at the fifth studio LP of their discography, seems to have found its final maturity. The music played today by All Them Witches no longer needs to be described in a derivative way; there is no need in fact of making comparisons and references with other bands. All Them Witches have achieved the result that many bands aspire to reach but that very few can rally get: other formations will be now associated to their style, we will find ourself saying “this bands sounds like All Them Witches”.
What happened to the band and what’s the cause of such an improvement? I don’t have many elements to make my hypotheses, but I think it’s a matter of increased confidence in their capabilities. Listening to the songs of the new record we realize in fact that All Them Witches have understood the reach of their talent, and they eventually decided to abandon the usual routes. those illuminated by the light of the masters of the rock, and venture into those darker and unexplored meanders, which are however closer and more fitting with their musical sensibility. And it’s no by chance, therefore, that the title they gave to the new album is ATW, like their name. This is All Them Witches. From now on, the others will follow their steps.
From a musical point of view, the songs in ATW seem to belong to two main categories. The first one is the group of what I like to the “apparently conventional” songs, i.e. those pieces that seem to reproduce initially a very precise stylistical model but then develop into something different, and extremely intriguing. An example is given by the energetic song 1st vs 2nd that starts as a standard stoner rock tune but then, through a crescendo that you would expect to fade but which always increases in intensity, evolves into an obsessive mid-tempo thrash metal riff that would not disfigure in a song by Metallica.
The second category of songs, which is also the one that gives the biggest surprises, collects a series of beautifully dark, slow, hypnotic and slimy bluesy ballads. These are the songs of the album where music really seems to came directly from the soul of the artists. The architecture of these pieces is minimal, essential and usually based on the repetition of a note, a chord, or a simple riff, with elements that are then incrementally added one on top of the others and which, one by one, increase the overall tension of the piece. In this category of songs the psychedelic element is still present but always dosed with great wisdom. The fantastic and majestic Diamond is perhaps the most representative song of this second group of tracks.
Beyond the value of individual songs, however, it’s the album in its entirety that deserves the most sincere compliments. This was really a surprise from a band that has definitely entered a new phase of its career, signed by an improved stylistic maturity and also by the full awareness of the expressive capabilities that their music have gained in the last few years.
Songs from ATW are now included into the two stoner playlists that I manage on Spotify: