Review: “To Witches” by Struck/Down

The last one thousand days have been nothing short of a whirlwind for Canterbury Metal act Struck/Down. A growing concern since early 2015, they had released a debut EP in “Sherry On Top” and a debut album in “Gone” during a five year run before the Global Pandemic hit and left them with idle hands. Rather than simply wait for things to get back to something approaching normality, the band went into writing mode and changed the angle of approach. While those early works had been personal songs revolving around their lives in good times and in bad, the desire to create something concept driven with a character based narrative took hold. The result of that was 2021 EP “From Demons“, a record which took the band to the New Blood stage at Bloodstock that year as winners of the the Metal 2 The Masses competition as they settled on a blend of Doom, Thrash and Groove Metal to tell the tales of Father Bernard. Inspired, they went into the studio with Ian Sadler (OHHMS, Morass Of Molasses, Renounced) who produced, mixed and mastered the second chapter, “To Witches” with a darker, heavier new sound…

Rising from the black depths “The Enforcer” finds Struck/Down in the kind of Southern Groove Metal territory that bands like Black Label Society, Desert Storm and Corrosion Of Conformity have long called their own. The headbangable riffs are undeniable as the band sit in the Bermuda triangle between Metal sub-genres and play with gargantuan riffs with a couple of well executed tempo changes allowing for short and yet oh so sugary sweet solo. As an opening track it’s disarming, grabbing the attention with an air of familiarity and will have your singing along pretty damn quick, a quality which is not to be underestimated. “Nephilim” adds gang chants to the mix, a darker atmospheric during the verses allowing the bold chorus to stand out like a hammer smashed thumb and there is the sense that if Layne Staley from Alice In Chains had done a Stoner Metal album, it would sound like this. A sinister melodic meandering introduction with a touch of orchestration gives “No Value” a haunting touch that lends itself further to those Grunge influences, particularly vocally, the gentle rise and fall through dark brooding moods with riffs to be worshipped. The solo in the final moments of this near six and a half minute magnum opus being the absolute Chef’s Kiss before “Tyranny Hellride” takes a more refined groove laden approach. A satisfying crunch cloaks these tales in a shroud of riffs which have a timeless feel to them and this one is no different. A little more drive and directness in the second half to give it more energy and push the lyrical message home makes for another stone cold winner. The grand finale that is “Son Of The Unburnt Witch” takes an artful direction with a spoken word setting the scene before pouring boiling oil over the ramparts and bringing back that trademark stomp to full effect with a punchy verve and swagger. Please Sir, can we have some more? [8/10]


Track Listing

1. The Enforcer
2. Nephilim
3. No Value
4. Tyranny Hellride
5. Son Of The Unburnt Witch

To Witches” by Struck/Down is out 7th July 2023 and is available over at bandcamp.

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