Acid Witch – Midnight Movies EP Review

Acid Witch_Midnight MoviesJust in time for April Fool’s Day, here’s a real cluster-fook of a concept EP. Let me paint the picture for you. Imagine a campy early 70s horror movie about hormonally challenged teeny boppers at the drive-in on a Saturday night. That’s the night of the horror movie marathon hosted by the cheesy local rock station and their creepy radio personality. Oh, there’s also a satanic cult and a sex-obsessed serial killer lurking around, and for reasons beyond me, an early 80s hair metal band is playing. Good times are sure to be had before the axe falls, and that axe belongs to Acid Witch, the stoner doom/death act with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Midnight Movies is a short, fanboy tribute to horror movies of the past, featuring cuts from several 80s cult classics. To add to the bloody fun, they’ve swamped this thing with all sorts of movie samples, sound effects and generalized weirdness. It’s ridiculous, but nails the mood of schlock horror so well you may feel like idiot #5 who goes off to find his missing buddies in the abandoned meat-packing plant. If you’re lucky, you might get a bit of nookie before the inevitable impalery, but don’t bet your sweet biscuits on it. Life just isn’t fair when there’s a killer on the tear.

At a mere four songs, this is short but just warped enough to amuse. Kicking off with Sorcery‘s “I’m Back” from the hitherto unknown horror romp Rocktober Blood, it’s a doom/death band doing something akin to Steel Panther and trying to keep their normal style from bleeding over into the hair spray and staining their tiger print spandex. The song itself is a good old-fashioned rocker and the schizoid way Acid Witch plays it makes it even more interesting. It’s almost like two versions of the song got slammed together to create a writhing blob of pop gum rock and creepy death metal. The crank call kicking off Fastway‘s “After Midnight” (from the Trick or Treat soundtrack) is one for the ages. The more deathy approach the band reverts to works well here and the Hammond organ give it a classic 70s horror vibe.

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Next we get the classic metal stylings of “Soldiers of the Night” from the Black Roses soundtrack and this one is such pure 80s MTV cheese metal, you’ll be seeing Y&T videos in your mind as you listen. Big props to the band for pulling this off so well since it’s miles from their normal fare. Things wind down with the best known number, “Partytime” from 45 Grave, famous for the scene in Return of the Living Dead where the zombies erupt from the ground. It’s the most rowdy, rabble rousing tune of the bunch and always good for a quick energy lift.

Considering Acid Witch is known for dirgy, dirty doom death with crusty, subterranean vocals, it’s quite a shock to hear the band rocking out with their cock rock out. Whomever is doing the singing on tracks like “Soldiers of the Night” is quite impressive and the whole thing is executed (some pun intended) far better than I expected. The guitar-work is also quite remarkable at times as they jump between hair metal, classic metal and back to doom/death.

So why not a higher score? This is a bit of an oddball, throwaway gimmick, and while it’s fun and well performed, I can’t see going back to it a lot. I’m suitably impressed Acid Witch can branch out this way, and it makes me wonder what they’ll do next, but this is a curious novelty and for many, after a few spins it will fall to the back of the mp3 closet, likely until next Halloween.

Good on these cats for being daring and trying new things. The results are fun enough and the video is ghastly. I hope they use this newfound creativity to gin up something truly wild on the next long player before the Celluloid Slasher strikes again! Now, where did my buds wander off too….

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 12 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Hells Headbangers Records
Release Dates: Out Worldwide: 04.01.2015

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