The group Witch was born from a marriage of apparently contradictory influences. J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. renown and his long time friend Dave Sweetapple were interested in forming a hard rock band. They found willing and able conspirators in Kyle Thomas and Asa Irons, members New England avant-folk outfit Feathers. On their eponymous debut album, this line-up mounted a mighty sonic tumult that harkened back to classic heavy metal sound of early 70's outfits while still sounding modern in it's assault (and without falling into the ubiquitous "Stoner Rock" pigeonhole). The eponymous debut album from Witch was released on Tee Pee Records March 7th, 2006.
In Witch, Mascis returns to his first love, drums, playing with an unbridled passion that recalls his work with Deep Wound, his early 80's hardcore band. Meanwhile, Kyle sings and writes the group's supernatural-oriented lyrics, exploring the juxtapositions between age and youth, the paradox of meeting yourself, and the dilemma of falling asleep on a mountaintop and waking up a hundred years year. Asa weaves a dense texture of rhythm and lead guitar lines that ebb and flow over the basic monolithic, trundling riff-rock song structure. Dave adds additional weight to Witch's sound with massive, crunching bass lines, returning this his instrument of choice when he played in Newfoundland punk bands back in the early 80s.
Witch released their sophomore LP Paralyzed in March 2008 on Tee Pee Records. Paralyzed finds Witch evolving beyond the standard Sabbathian riff structure that defined much of their first record. Witch step into a new realm on Paralyzed, melding punk rock tempo's with acid guitar freak outs while maintaining sludgy head nodding grooves. Rather than revisit the sounds of the 60's/70's, Witch reinvent them. The punk overtones and sped up tempos are largely due to Kyle Thomas' shift in songwriting to suit the free wheeling energy of J Mascis' drum playing. This is clearly evidenced in "Mutated" and "1000 MPH". Thomas admits, "J plays drums with a lot of energy, so I decided that instead of writing slow songs and having them speed up when we play them live, I should just write faster songs". While "Paralyzed" does find Witch injecting many postmodern elements into their classic hard rock base, their ability to interweave these sounds track to track throughout the record is what makes Paralyzed so good. From the way the album begins with the frantic urgency filled "Eye" to the epic "Old Trap Line", (A track inspired by philosophies drawn from Vipassana Meditation and the films of Andrei Tarkovsky, through the lenses of the practice of hunting rites) closing the album in an infectious psychedelic groove.