12 Aug 2022
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Hunt The Witch - Album Review: Strange Gods

16 May 2019 // A review by Ben Ruegg

Stop what you are doing. Put down those headphones. Either jump in your car with a super sound system or sit on your couch in front of a large hi-fi system. Load up the new album Strange Gods by Hunt The Witch and soak in all of the energy. This album is rock solid.

Where do I start? Let’s start with the wall of sound from the opening track City Of Lights. The guitar comes roaring in and by the time the whole band has got to the chorus, you could swear you were listening to a live band. This is how rock bands had done it years before and it sounds like Hunt The Witch are carrying on that tradition of raw sounding rock that smacks you in the face and leaves you gasping for air. It’s wonderful and thrilling.

The foundation of the sound made up of Bevan Carbines on Guitar, Jason Clarke on Bass and Jason Peters whacking the drums allows Sam Whitley to really give it everything. His vocals soar on so many songs while also allowing himself to be able to bring it down a notch where it's needed. Take for example the song Sirens. The whole sound slowed down; the verses showcase a softer side. But not for long. The chorus comes rolling in Sam is back to showcasing that big soaring voice again.

All the while, every riff is huge. The sound of the guitar is gold. Soaked in delay at times, it creates this stereo field which sounds so damn awesome at high volumes. I’m telling you. You need to hear this on a big system. I can only imagine hearing it live would be mind-blowing. Everyone is tight here. The drums are thought out, well placed and work together with the whole sound. A stand out track for me that show cases this chemistry is the song Afterburner. In the pre-chorus, Bevan has the wah on playing a simple, yet effective riff and Jason is riding the bell of the ride cymbal. It creates this sense of space that just opens up for the chorus to blow the roof off. Again, this is a band that understands how to construct and build up songs that deliver a big payoff.

On the song The Clamoring, the listener is welcomed to a more atmospheric sound to start us off. Not for long. The signature sound that you have become used to through the album so far is back. This album delivers on so many levels. With its sound that is consistent the whole way through, you can tell the band has worked out exactly how to use it to their benefit. So many albums sound like a collection of all sorts of different songs that have been thrown together to create an album. Strange Gods sounds more like an album that was created with a purpose, with a goal in mind.

The album ends with a massive track called Magnitude. Honestly, it is a beast of a song. I won’t spoil surprises here but my goodness, this one was epic! Guitar solos are important to rock and Bevan has demonstrated all through this album how to use them tastefully. This song is no exception.

Overall, with the combination of huge vocals, a ton of epic riffs, bass lines to die for in a band and drums that help bring it all together, this is one of the greatest rock albums I have heard come out of New Zealand. The mixing and production bring to life what Hunt The Witch can do as band. If you like bands like Queens Of The Stone Age, this is one you need to check out.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Hunt The Witch

Auckland band Hunt The Witch began when Bevan Carbines (guitar) and Anthony Lakin (bass) started jamming on ideas in 2013 where a solid foundation of heavy sonic riffs were laid.

Jason Peters (drums and formally of Pumpkinhead) joined a while later and they continued to write songs as a three piece.

The last ingredient required was vocals and so Sam Whitley entered into the fray, whose vocal range, personality and writing abilities were the glue needed to complete the line up, from the first rehearsal it was crystal clear that the line up was going to work well together.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Hunt The Witch

Releases

Live At The Darkroom
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Strange Gods
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Into The Black
Year: 2015
Type: EP

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