Gravedweller is a three song EP that The Wytches are currently giving away for free. The group is based out of Brighton, UK and were formed in November 2011 after they left Peterborough for Brighton. They have toured extensively, opening for the likes of Death Grips, The Black Angels, Band Of Skulls, Chelsea Wolfe, Bosnian Rainbows, Japandroids, Temples, Metz, Future Of The Left, The Cribs, Yuck and Drenge.
I’m quite liking Gravedweller because the band’s sound is rather unique, as it perfectly melds together everything from surf rock to doom metal to psychedelic rock. You wouldn’t think Dick Dale & The Deltones plus Black Sabbath plus Cream would result in anything particularly good, but somehow The Wytches get away with mixing all of these things, wearing their influences on their sleeves and doing them more than a little justice.
The first track is the title track, “Gravedweller,” which starts off with a guitar track via vocalist/guitarist Kristian Bell, sounding like a lo-fi take on surf rock, but it’s a much more raw sound than you’ve ever heard in any surf rock production with the possible exception of Wavves. Soon the bass guitar, courtesy of Dan Rumsey, enters the picture and it begins to sound more like Nirvana than surf rock. And once the drums by Gianni Honey strike and the guitars get psychedelic, you know you’re in for something special even if the production value is very lo-fi and you wonder if that’s deliberate or if they’re simply in need of some better equipment to record themselves with. Mind you, I’m just assuming that they produced this themselves because it sounds very DIY and I haven’t read anything about an outside producer in any of the reading I’ve done about them.
Next is “Carnival Law” with totally psychedelic guitars, chugging bass and fierce drums, which all comes across like a cross between Black Sabbath and Wolfmother. Not bad bands to sound like. There’s also a Jack White vibe in there, too, both in the style of Kristian’s vocals and in the tone of his fretwork. Oh, and I must mention the doom factor. There’s definitely a doom metal vibe in there, particularly with the rhythm section. It’s not hard to imagine this song appearing in a slasher film as one of the characters walks down a hallway and you know she’s about to get killed but she doesn’t know it yet.
Finally, we have “Wide At Midnight (Alternative Version),” which is like the group’s version of a murder ballad. I couldn’t understand all of the lyrics, so I’m not sure what it’s about, but it certainly does not sound like a happy song. More like the sort of angsty song you’d listen to over and over again after getting dumped. If I’m being entirely honest, I didn’t like it quite as much as the previous two tracks but I still thought it was decent lo-fi rock.
All in all, if you like any of the above-mentioned artists and/or genres, you’d probably quite like at least one of these songs. And you can’t beat the price. So, go now and check them out for yourselves. You can download the EP for free here: http://www.thewytches.com/gravedweller