THIS WEEK I’M LISTENING TO...WITCH FEVER Reincarnate (Music For Nations)
Taking their name from the historical and hysterical obsession with persecuting women and executing then as witches (and identifying it as one of many forms of female oppression), Manchester’s Witch Fever have been around in some form or another since 2017 or so. With a handful of singles to their name and a settled line-up of consisting of Amy Walpole (lead vocals), Alisha Yarwood (guitar), Alex Thompson (bass and backing vocals) and Annabelle Joyce (drums) the band now have a six-track EP ‘Reincarnate’ ready to roll.
As might be expected of a band named after misogynistic showtrials at the likes of Pendle and Salem ‘Reincarnate’ is an angry body of work, pugilistic and vociferous, and the result of a huge melting pot of influences. Witch Fever cleverly blend a multitude of styles, from grunge indifference to punk outbursts and nu metal diversity via huge Sabbath riffs – ‘Black Sabbath’ even puts in a guest appearance during the title track – with Thompson and Joyce driving a forceful bottom end over which Yarwood’s guitar chimes and Walpole sings, shouts and screams her lungs out. “There’s a big emphasis on female empowerment and female anger,” says Thompson of the band’s maelstrom of fury. “It’s about celebrating yourself and self-expression. Not being stifled and held back.” In channelling the fury of Tarrie B and the inventiveness of Garbage, and lobbing a chunk of Rage Against The Machine in for good measure, Witch Fever have crafted a clever collection of acerbic workouts, all of which have something to say without overstaying their welcome: all six cuts are done and dusted in one twenty-minute ferocious offensive. Songs like ‘Bully Boy’ and ‘In Birth’ are a vicious onslaught of verbal retaliation and although Lemmy once said of Motörhead, “if we moved in next door, your lawn would die,” Witch Fever would probably burn your house down as well.
‘Reincarnate’ will be available digitally on Music For Nations on 29 October with a 12” vinyl version following on 3 December.
© John Tucker September 2021