Well before my time writing for East of 8th, I was a music lover. That led me to music festivals, and from there to the sometimes fun, sometimes educational, often horrifying world of music festival message boards. This back story is relevant to this review because it was in the pandemonium of a well-known Bonnaroo message board that I first came across the name All Them Witches. By my best estimate, this was at least 6 months before ATW would release their first album. It was impossible to ignore the group’s dedicated grassroots fandom. Flash forward 7 years and a stack of studio albums later and we see the message board fans got their wish: All Them Witches played at Bonnaroo in 2019.
However, as great as a major music festival appearance is, 2020 may have a more profound mark on the band. With their latest album, Nothing As The Ideal, we get a record that refocuses the band’s sound from pure raw rock towards more refined psychedelic experimentation.
Now it’s important not to mistake my word “refined” to indicate that the band has lost any of its roaring energy. The band’s blues rock meets metal sound is still intact. However, on Nothing As The Ideal, the band gave themselves room to alter the sonic perceptions. The result is an album that is distinctly ATW, but with a strong connection to the sounds of Tool…with a Sabbath twist.
Produced by the band and Mikey Allred and recorded at Abbey Road Studios in the legendary Studio Two, the album is polished, yet allows the band’s energy to flow. There are many highlights throughout. Opener, “Saturnine & Iron Jaw,” is pure electric guitar riff adrenaline. “41” has an ominous feel as haunting vocal delivery and interludes of soaring guitar add elements of Pink Floyd to the rock drive. “Enemy of My Enemy” is a blitz of competing guitar riffs and pounding drums. For a complete changeup, the band goes full gothic on “The Children of Coyote Woman,” creating a unique sound that will make you think of Pink Floyd covering The Marshall Tucker Band.
Nothing As The Ideal is an album that should resonate as a step forward to the All Them Witches fanbase, while drawing in a wider range of new listeners from the rock world. This album comes at the perfect time to build on the demand for hard-hitting rock music with an original sound.
Featured Image of All Them Witches By Robby Staebler