The packaging is great as is expected with a Acid Witch release, the album art is awesome and the vinyl version comes in a lovely swirled Orange and Black slab of wax with an 18" X 24" full-color poster of the cover art and an old school Acid Witch Halloween die-cut decoration piece. "Witchtanic Hellucinations" was a very popular album that got that way mainly from major leakage all over the Internet so I hope this new album doesn't suffer the same fate. So what can you say about "Stoned," well there is no doubting it is Acid Witch. As soon as you press play, you are know what you are in for but like I previously stated, it is maybe just too predictable even for a Acid Witch album but hey, this is still a hellish example of deathly, horror, death-doom that very few bands can match. Predictable or not, this band is one of the most seriously crushing acts the world of death and doom-metal has ever heard and "Stoned" will be hugely popular among riff-freaks everywhere.
One look at the song-titles suggest a shift away from singing about witches and bubbling cauldrons. The opening intro piece "Satanic Faith" begins with another one of the bands trademarks, the creaky old organ and on this occasion it plays something similar to many horror-themes with a voice-over about Satanists. This is quickly over and out and we are into "Witchfynder Finder" and it takes off with a insanely catchy riff and soaring lead-work. It is a bit more up-tempo than the usual Acid Witch dirges of the past and the lyrics of course mention "Hopkins," the witch-finder general himself. The guitar sound is as brutally fuzzy as ever with the gurgling vocals are at its most menacing. This album has a production improvement over Witchtanic Hellucinations with the guitar being more finely balanced in the mix, there is not as many over-powering leads flattening out the rest of the sound.
"Trick or Treat" is a horror-fueled, melodic track with the rusty ancient organ sounding like it is about to self-destruct in the beginning of the track. The bone-charring riffing is thicker than molasses but again is the infectious nature of this tune that ultimately wins you over. On this song, their love for "Halloween" is clearly the focus with lyrics like "Die cut witches, ghouls and skulls, A graveyard on my lawn, My house is dressed up for Halloween, The most elaborate on my street." As you can tell, they haven't reduced the cheese factor in any way but like said during my review for the previous full-length opus, that is the whole point. Acid Witch are saying f**k you to all these overly serious metal-types that somehow think they are all so Satanic, Acid Witch are taking the piss and having a lot of fun doing it, if you can't see the humor, see a doctor, you need help. "Thundering Hooves" is another heavy-ass song with more spoken-word samples, this time about naked bodies and witchcraft. It is a mid-tempo chuganaut that is irresistible in its head-banging value and the tune bubbles along with an infectious rhythm and groove.
"If Hell Exists" is also a chilling piece of death-doom, the atmospheric opening build up sets the mood before it takes off into an early 80's N.W.O.B.H.M kind of melodic metal. In this song, they proudly sing "my sanity is metal" and you better believe it too. This track gets my vote for the worst track overall on the album though, something about it doesn't gel despite some nice guitar melodies. "Stoned to the Grave" is the most adventurous track, especially in the lyrical department that seem to sum up everything that Acid Witch stands for. This would make the perfect opening song for a live-show with its anthemic vibe and musically it has every element that the band is renown for. Crushing riffs, soaring leads, infectious melodies and the growling vocals that somehow managed to be strangely catchy and melodic. This track also features the most memorable lead-break on the album proving once again that as musicians, this 2 piece is highly underrated.
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