thu 18/07/2024

Album: Witch Fever - Congregation | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Witch Fever - Congregation

Album: Witch Fever - Congregation

An energised two-pronged punk-metal assault on Christianity and the patriarchy

It's not easy being God

Witch Fever are a seething punk outfit from Manchester whose debut album rampages at the patriarchy with unbridled fury. The tone throughout is summed up in “Sour”, wherein grimy, gloomy riffin’ is accompanied by oblique references to Christianity, before the whole slams into a chorus of shrieked outrage, “They won’t take no for an answer/As if they ever fucking ask/Yeah, we incite this violence/Nothing ever changed in silence.”

Frontperson Amy Walpole draws from her past, growing up in a family that was part of an evangelical sect (the Charismatic Church). Her lyrics take God as the ultimate domineering male, weaving in a more general but ferocious anger at the way women are treated. Two-minute closer “12” is the most extreme song, howled in desperation, conjuring notions of child abuse over a relentless speeding guitar attack.

Overall, though, the music does not necessarily rely on speed, but as much on doom metal-ish down-tuned guitars, a sludgy misery of sound balanced with enough rhythmic punch to be suitable for the moshpit. The one song that boasts a tune in the traditional pop sense is “Slow Burn”, faintly redolent of Cocteau Twins (very faintly!) but much grungier. That is not to say that other songs don’t have appeal, though, they do, but one relying on sheer force and righteous shout-alongs.

“I See You Dancing” seems to be about a predatory bloke perving on a young woman dancing (“Oh my, how you’ve grown”), and some songs, such as “Blessed Be Thy” and the title track, tilt more explicitly at the Church. Mostly, the imagery is more impressionistic but the tone is never less than urgent. Produced raw by Sam Grant, guitarist with Newcastle punk-metallers Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Congregation is a first blast sonic manifesto for a band who, like Savages a few years back, represent non-male rage in a viscerally uncompromising fashion.

Below: watch the video for "I Saw You Dancing" by Witch Fever

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