Saturday 15 September 2018

Witch Ripper - Homestead (Album Review)

Release date: September 13th 2018. Label: DHU Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Homestead – Tracklisting

1.Wasteland 07:05
2.Swarm 03:40
3.S.L.U. (The HIve) 06:29
4.Ngenechen 06:46
5.Sucker Punch 04:54
6.Bog March 01:51
7.The Witch 07:04


Curtis Parker: Guitar/Vocals
Joseph Eck: Drums
Coltan Anderson: Guitar
Brian Kim: Bass


Witch Ripper debut album Homestead takes the ferocious sounds of High On Fire and merges it with the technical progressive riffs of Mastodon. Now if that doesn’t get you interested then I don’t know what will. Homestead still manages to stand on it’s own merits by playing a melodic style of Sludge/Stoner Metal riffs that moves into many different directions on the album.

The twin guitar work of Curtis and Coltan is what drives Witch Ripper’s music forward with the band adding a cool progressive and psychedelic sound. The vocals from Curtis surprised me as I was expecting something different. Curtis is from the old school of Sludge/Stoner Metal vocals. Taking influence from Matt Pike at time but still delivering his own style of vocals. Brian and Joseph add a formidable backline for the band to deliver their music upon.

The opening song – Wasteland – may sound eerie familiar to long-time Sludge/Stoner Metal fans but Witch Ripper show real creativity on this song especially on the more melodic parts of the song. As the band switch from the raw sludge metal sound to the more friendlier Stoner Rock sound whilst still maintaining a true heavy metal presence. This is one of the standout songs on the album that will have you coming back for more.

Second song – Swarm – is a more thrashier affair and it sounds like the guys are channelling their inner Motorheard. Perhaps even beating High On Fire to the punch by a month with their latest album doing a similar sort of vibe. Anyway Witch Ripper excel again on creating a mini-progressive sludge rock style opus despite the short running time of the song.

Third song – S.L.U. (The Hive) – is one of the angriest songs on the album with Curtis on truly inspired pissed-off form. The music does start really slowly and quietly before exploding into a heavier sound. The music once again shifts into different directions with Witch Ripper brimming full of confidence and you can feel that passion and energy through their music.

The rest of the album follows the same path as the opening three songs with Witch Ripper continuing to impress even more especially on songs such as Ngenechem, Sucker Punch and The Witch. With Negenechem and The Witch being two of my favourite songs on the album and that’s perhaps down to Witch Ripper changing the tone and direction of each song whenever the mood calls for it.

Some people may complain that the album doesn’t take enough creative risks. That maybe true to a point. However for an album such as this, Witch Ripper have still managed to deliver one of the coolest Sludge/Stoner Metal albums of the year. If you’re a fan of High On Fire and Mastodon then you need this album. As Homestead is an absolute blast from start to finish and will leave you wanting more…

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Witch Ripper and DHU Records for the promo. Homestead is available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl now via DHU Records.