The 13 Best Bands With ‘Witch’ In Their Name
It’s hard to say when exactly every heavy metal band in the world began putting “witch” in their name. The incorporation of the term makes sense — Satan’s spooky, sure, but what’s even scarier is the human being doing things in his name. On top of that, “witch” is a versatile term that can be used to describe everything from an evil old hag to a rebellious woman standing in the face of polite society. It’s no wonder that metalheads in the modern day gravitated towards the word that Puritans used to yell while stoning women in Salem.
However, these days, bands referencing witches has become so common that it’s kind of ridiculous. And while dozens of bands enjoy aligning themselves with witchcraft, only a handful of them are worthy of their broom and flying ointment (look it up). And seeing as tonight is Walpurgisnacht, the great yearly witches’ sabbath before the birth of May, we figured we’d give them a shout-out before heading off to have sex with the Devil.
Here are the 13 best bands with “witch” in their names…
Probably the most modern of the current crop of “witch” bands, Seattle’s Bell Witch play doom so slow and heavy that it might hypnotize you. Though named after a legendary American witch-ghost said to haunt Northern Tennessee, the duo focus on more heavy psychological subject matter, as evidenced on 2017’s Mirror Reaper. Ultimately, it’s more of a soundtrack to witchcraft than a band about witches.
Old-school metalheads are probably most familiar with London’s Angel Witch. The NWOBHM four-piece rose to fame in the the early ‘80s for their aggressive speed metal and satanic themes. A huge influence on Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, the band’s self-titled debut continues to enjoy cult status, hitting a metal sweet spot that’s a little harder than early Maiden or Blue Oyster Cult but not quite as all-out as Venom.
Stoner Halloween metal — who can resist? In Acid Witch’s world of spooky doom metal and classic horror references, witches are green hags who worship the devil just for the fun of it. The Detroit band’s merging of chugging weed metal and cheesy ‘80s soundtrack synths create an atmosphere of traditional horror that’s happy to be spooky if not deeply scary.
An awesome class of thrash bands came out of Sweden in the early 2000s, and king among them was Witchery. Featuring members of Arch Enemy and The Haunted, the band started off playing fast-and-loose blackened thrash, before slowly morphing into a groove metal band on later albums. Fans of ripping speed metal should look for 1999’s Dead, Hot And Ready and 2001’s Symphony For The Devil, both modern classics in their own right.
Ohio’s Skeletonwitch are a perfect example of a band sounding like their name. The blackened thrash five-piece’s breakneck, scathing sound make on think of a bony, undead hag swooping down on you to feast on your fucking eyeballs. They’re also a rare example of a band making better music with every release; last year’s Devouring Radiant Light is easily their best release to date.
Someone had to be just Witch! Hailing from Massachusetts and featuring J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., Witch definitely go more in the direction of psychedelic rock and noise than typical doom metal. That said, their rough-edged guitar tone and volatile rhythms prevent them from feeling unnecessarily spacey, keeping the music firmly placed in weird and witchy darkness.
Real talk: if you’re going to name your band Witch Vomit, you better be fucking awesome. Thankfully, this Portland, Oregon, three-piece lives up to their name, playing vicious old-school death metal with an arch-evil edge. Though they only have one EP out, 2017’s unfuckwithable Poisoned Blood, Witch Vomit’s killer tunes and unforgettable name have placed them firmly on the radars of fans throughout metal’s underground.
Arguably the first great band of the late-2000s stoner-doom boom, Sweden’s Witchcraft was originally formed as a tribute to Pentagram’s Bobby Liebling and psychedelic pioneer Roky Erickson. The band went on to become one of hipster metal’s most beloved acts, their old-school themes and jangling guitar tones endearing them to fans sick of technicality and extremity. A fun band for getting metalheads back to the genre’s organic side.
Portland, Oregon’s Witch Mountain were one of the first bands to lead the trend of all things slow and heavy in a city that is now known worldwide for its doom metal. The band has been through several iterations, but its current form, with Kayla Dixon at the helm, brings powerful, soulful vocals to their sprawling, Pacific Northwestern doom.
Taking a hard turn from the occult doom of the previous two acts, Seattle’s Burning Witch are about as ugly a band as you can find. Featuring Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley (Greg went on to found a little label named Southern Lord, and they both went on to form a little band called Sunn O)))), the band play dissonant, brooding sludge metal that’s as hostile as it is awesome. 2009’s Crippled Lucifer is still awesome to smoke weed to, just don’t play it at the party.
On the more acrobatic side of the doom spectrum are Hampshire-based trio Witchsorrow, featuring Kerrang!’s very own Nick Ruskell. The band’s flavor of doom is definitely more Candlemass than Sleep, forsaking sludging stonerdom for dynamic flourishes of NWOBHM guitar and a steady percussive plod. Fun, old-school devil music for the metalhead who’s sick of doom dragging its feet.
Black Witchery definitely go harder on the ‘black’ than the ‘witchery.’ The Floridian three-piece play the kind of noisy, brooding war metal that most find unlistenable and fans of true cacophonous darkness live and die for. While all of their albums are unrelenting barrages of sonic warfare, it’s 2005’s Upheaval Of Satanic Might that should be in your record collection.
Temple Of The Fuzz Witch
For those looking for more murk and menace to their doom, Temple Of The Fuzz Witch has a real shadowy air about them. The contemporary Michigan trio live up to their name, drenching their songs in reverb so thick it’ll swallow you like quicksand. Their self-titled debut full-length only dropped this year, so keep an eye on these guys in the coming years.
Amplified has announced the first wave of bands for next year’s festival.
When Kurt Cobain passed away and Nirvana ceased to be, Dave Grohl was left with a choice: let his pain consume him and lead him away from music forever, or find a way of working through the darkness…