Have You Heard? Witchrider
It isn’t often that your new favourite up and coming band comes from Austria. Hooks so big they could snag a Leviathan, guitar tones so thick and fuzzy they could keep you warm in the snow. Witchrider are my new addiction. After being introduced to the song ‘Far From You’ on ‘The Return of the Fuzzsplit, Vol. 1‘ which also features Stoner rock champions Truckfighters I became instantly enamoured with the riff, the tone and the direction the song went in.
It was and is a perfect introduction to the band’s sound, perfectly blending 90’s alternative rock with the powerful grooves and tones of Stoner/Desert rock and taking obvious influences from their rock and roll contemporaries Truckfighters or Kyuss; certainly a vocal style influenced by Josh Homme. Although their style isn’t wholly original, that doesn’t matter. These guys, although a young band, have already distinguished themselves as a band to keep your eye on.
Witchrider were originally formed by Michael Hirschmugl, H.P. Leitner and Daniel Dorninger in 2012 and called Desert Mountain. They made their debut in 2012, but later decided to change their name to Witchrider to fit their musical style, according to their bio. Interestingly enough though, the idea for the name was taken from the sleep paralysis, which is also known as riding the Witch! If that doesn’t scream ‘badass occult rock band’ I don’t know what does!
They released their first self titled EP back in April 2013 simple self titled ‘Witchrider EP’ with 6 songs in total, including a remixed version of their most infamous track ‘Black’ – an excellent journey into the moderately paced, groove laden universe of stoner rock. The vocalist does an excellent job demonstrating his range and provides most of the hooks along with the beautifully simplistic lead guitar lines. ‘Shedevil’ brings the vocals up to a higher register but combines their sound with a more faster, driving tempo akin to bands like Fu Manchu but still retaining that darker sound.
In 2014 Witchrider released ‘The Return of the Fuzzsplit, Vol. 1‘ with their Fuzzorama label mates Truckfighters, exposing the band to a wider audience with the die-hard Truckfighters fans that may not have got around to listening to the band yet. And boy, did they release an excellent fucking track to rival Truckfighters (which is no mean feat, I might add). Did I already mention that I really love the song ‘Far From You?‘ Well, I’ve done it again. That song is impeccable!
That same year, Witchrider released their first full length album ‘Unmountable Stairs’ on Fuzzorama Records again. With some of the most engaging album artwork I’ve seen from a young band in a long time, combing with the high quality of music and artwork, with a band name so great that you’d think they’ve been around for at least 20 years already.
Witchrider are well on my radar now, I can’t wait to be part of the hype for their next record. With a new song/video named ‘A Glow In The Dark’ out on October 12th, we should all definitely be taking a look at what these guys have created so far and prepare ourselves for their next album!
Songs to check out: Far From You, OCD, Black, Unmountable Stairs, Shedevil.