Acid Witch - _Stoned_
(Hell's Headbangers, 2011)
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (no rating)
Yes! Yes! Yes. A quarter through 2011 and already I am looking back on things I've missed. In an age of leaks and delayed releases, an album's release day is usually stretched out to months. When this release window falls on the cusp of a new year, a record could go unnoticed by the larger market. If an album was released in January of 2011 but leaked across blogs in November 2010, its chances for making any sort of top 10 list is nearly impossible. This does not mean Acid Witch's mushroom eating second release is anywhere near shortlist material, I'm just saying it's unfortunate for the ones who enjoyed _Stoned_ as much as I did.

Acid Witch is a horror tinged death metal outfit with a deep love for mind altering drugs. The end result is a psychedelic nightmare through a narrative constructed from Z-grade horror films and back issues of "Tales From the Crypt". The atmosphere created is never scary nor threatening. Just like the media which it takes its inspiration from, _Stoned_ is a joyride on a blacklit tractor squashing zombies and demon possessed infants. I was never adventurous enough, in my youth, to take acid while watching horror movies, so I can only speculate its effects. It is my only hope that the sound of psychedelic death metal comes close to the near insanity of the proposed experience.

The excitement for Acid Witch is hinged on their spectacular debut _Witchtanic Hellucinations_. The debut was focused enough to reach a larger audience and played its role admirably. Whatever happened between the two releases has been for the worse, as their follow-up is a spectacular accident of violence and spooky imagery. Acid Witch swings for the fences as _Stoned_ is a splattered mess and perhaps can take prize for the dumbest lyrics written in the past ten years. Make no mistake, there have been incredibly forward thinking metal albums released in just the past year. This is not one of them.

The appeal of certain genre fiction rests in its escapism and reliance on derivation. Despite my reservations and objective criticism, little matters when dealing with certain types of fiction and even less when listening to Acid Witch. This is a stupid album -- but that is not the point. Acid Witch is not only a throwback to the golden age of pre-code horror but to the salacious storylines of pulp thrillers. Characters are wooden, story arcs are borrowed, and the action is in full saturation. The cheap and sometimes copied style of Acid Witch's music only adds to its charm -- like finding a "Tomb of Dracula" comic in a thrift store. Besides my best logic, listening to "If Hell Exists" makes me want to throw _Stoned_ in my vague top 10 of 2011. I soon realize common aesthetic criticism goes out the window when you begin using words like "awesome" and "bitchin" to express your enjoyment for a type of media. Can I really put value on _Stoned_? It's like trying to rate an issue of "Savage Sword of Conan". Yeah, it's no Norman Mailer, but come on... there's tons of blood.


(article published 19/4/2011)

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