Iron Witch Begin Tour With Grave Lines This Week

By on 6 March 2017

Liverpool sludge crew Iron Witch have teamed up for a few UK dates with Grave Lines (featuring members of Dead Existence, Sea Bastard and Throne) this week, starting in Coventry on Wednesday before calling at Nottingham and Croydon.

Iron Witch have become such a ubiquitous force on the UK doom/sludge scene that it’s easy to forget they hadn’t graced us with a full-length album until last year. Sure, the last six years have seen several EPs, demos, singles and a split with The Atrocity Exhibit, but after some significant line-up changes (with original vocalist Chris Fane taking up guitar duties with Crypt Lurker‘s Mark Huges and Siege Mentality‘s Dave Mould picking up the mic), ‘A Harrowed Dawn’ finds the band starting afresh, forgoing the hero worship of early releases to arrive at a much darker, more mature new sound. Don’t worry, they haven’t pulled a Paradise Lost and suddenly gone all Depeche Mode on us or anything like that – those filthy great grooves and sludged out riffs are still there in abundance, but there’s a newfound weight and intensity to these songs that marks this album as the most accomplished and downright heavy thing they’ve released so far.

When London’s Dead Existence announced they were breaking up just after the release of their heaviest, most fully realised opus to date (last year’s ‘Endless Misery’), it was a particularly bitter pill to swallow. Thankfully, vocalist Jake Harding and bassist Staggerin’ Matt have wasted no time in putting together Grave Lines, alongside Sea Bastard guitarist Oliver Hill and ex-Throne drummer Julia Owen. “With Dead Existence effectively in cryogenic sleep, myself and Matt had agreed we wanted to get another project going as soon as possible,” Jake begins. “More as a spiritual continuation than any desire to emulate anything we’d been doing. Oli and Julia seemed like obvious choices and they were in a similar boat with War Wolf and Throne respectively. In a way, this band is a reaction to each of those projects coming to an end. As is always the case, however, it has very quickly developed a kicking screaming life of its own.”

Their debut ‘Welcome To Nothing’ is certainly more than the sum of its parts, taking in huge Neurosis-esque riffs, dusky trad doom stylings and a gloomy, gothic melodicism that is all their own, with Jake utilising haunting clean vocals as well as his usual paint stripping roar. “The thing which made this record and the writing process so enjoyable for me was that we had no idea what we were going for,” says Oliver. “We’ve all been in heavy bands before but we were not trying to be a doom band. It created for me an extremely honest record which shows a lot of our musical leanings, yet is really heavy in concept and sound.”

“I think in general we all have influences in pretty far reaching places, both within the music spectrum and elsewhere, so that even if we had set any preconceived parameters they would’ve been smashed fairly quickly anyway,” Matt muses. “I think that’s why we ended up in a room together in the first place. The general sound of the band has definitely been organic, with riffs, rhythms and deliveries all morphing their meaning and texture simply by playing them together in the rehearsal room. We don’t really care if people don’t like what we’re doing, so there’s no expectations, which makes things flow pretty nicely.”

It’s hard to imagine any serious doom fans disliking the distinctive and monumentally heavy sound these four have concocted, but if it’s not for you, then tough shit, as Grave Lines is now a major concern for all involved. “Yeah, we plan on being around,” says Matt, “killing the vibe and spreading some misery Europe wide.” “We’re enthusiastic to write more and keep the creative relationship that we’re enjoying moving as we play shows,” says Oliver, picking up the thread. “The sentiment from all of us is definitely to keep writing at the pace we have been and get the fucker on the stage as much as possible,” agrees Jake. “The beast is alive now and it wants blood, so we’re going to feed it!”

Iron Witch and Grave Lines play the following dates:

MARCH
Wednesday 8th: Coventry, The Phoenix, with Conjurer (Event page)
Thursday 9th: Nottingham, The Chameleon Arts Cafe, with Dark Mother (Event page)
Friday 10th: Croydon, Hoodoos, with Kalloused, Watchcries, Fuckjar and Violet Mud (Event page)

You can find Iron Witch and Grave Lines on Facebook

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