Jurassic Witch – Black Masses and Ashes
Reviewed: April 2021
Released: 2021, Bandcamp
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Fact – Stoners love dinosaurs. And while there’s no definitive evidence to prove that dinosaurs loved stoners, there’s also not any evidence to say that they didn’t… So ponder that while you inhale deeply along to the thunderous rumblings of Jurassic Witch.
BLACK MASSES AND ASHES is the debut offering from the L.A. based duo and delivers a surprisingly competent batch of tunes. Without the benefit of a lyrics sheet and only a limited blurb on the Bandcamp album page, we’re left to infer that there’s some kind of prevailing dinosaur themed fantasy mythos that binds each of the album’s tracks, but honestly it’s not really important (other than grabbing your attention and piquing your initial interest). What is important is the thick, fuzzy haze of riffs that surround standout cuts like “Stegasorceress” and fan favorite “T. Hex”. Nothing revolutionary by any stretch, but the blending of meandering Kyuss like riff phrasing and catchy hooks land their punches remarkably well, much of which should be credited to the massive tone from Zachary Fisher’s baritone guitar work. Imagine Lemmy’s bass being used to play lead guitar and you’re in the right ballpark, it’s pretty sick.
Each of the album’s 4 tracks follow a very similar blueprint – start with a standard song structure, segway into an Iommi inspired, bluesified improvisation, return to the standard song structure and then blow it up with a wall of noise. By the time you get to the end of “Pterrordactyl”, you’ve already discovered the exact 11 herbs and spices that make up the Jurassic Witch secret recipe, and it can feel a bit formulaic from there. But if you can get past that and just enjoy the tunes for what they are, it’s certainly less of an impediment.
Marketed as an EP but packed to the teeth with almost 40 minutes of Mesazoic metal goodness, BLACK MASSES AND ASHES is like sonic comfort food. Even when it’s not fantastic, you still manage to enjoy it all the same. Given that this was a DYI effort released through Bandcamp, the early responses from the doom community have been largely favorable. Hopefully that kind of feedback bodes well for the future of Jurassic Witch, because I’m really curious to hear what happens next.