Review by Gabrielle DB
One-Eyed Doll shares a dark, yet, beautiful story through their concept album Witches. An intriguing and eerie history lesson on the Salem Witch Trials in the late 1600's is delivered through personal accounts, lyrics derived from court documents, and possible theories on why the hysteria occurred. The two-piece from Austin, Texas, Kimberly Freeman (vocals, guitar) and "Junior" Jason Rufuss Sewell (drums) create a hard-hitting, and powerful dreamscape with supplemental instrumentation from, but not limited to, mandolin and banjo.
"Ember" tears the album open with a tolling bell, punishing indictment, and a swirl of maddening screams and crashing instruments. An abrupt turn into a solemn folksy track of "Prayer" showcases Freeman's delicate tones, and a very chunky bass riddled with beautiful fiddle notes.
The most plausible theory for the hysteria (bacteria infection in the wheat) is told through the shredding "Black In The Rye." This track picks the heavy back up in a punishing fury of guitar, percussion, and vocal intensity.
"A Rope For Mary" shares the somber hanging of an accused person found guilty. The vocal range of Freeman on this track is incredible!
"More Weight" is the account of the stone-pressing of Giles Corey who refused to plea innocent or guilty once accused. The angst of this song is rabid. "Remember" is a sensual instrumental interlude. "Witch Hunt" carries a fantastic groove with a torch-bearing mob like chant.
"Stillness" has quite an instrumental into leading into epic vocals. "Afflicted" is a lyrically distressing track.
A soft outcry in "Sorrow" leads into the final, harrowing track "The Ghosts Of Gallows Hill." A requiem from the accused themselves lays this album to rest.
One-Eyed Doll weaves a wicked tale in Witches. The album does a back and forth of intensity and melancholy. The grave accounts are enchanting. Each track builds upon the other, leaving listeners spell-bound, if you will, to listen completely through. Definitely check this unique piece out!
Listen to "A Rope For Mary"