Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wykked Wytch - Something Wykked This Way Comes

Wykked Wytch - Something Wykked This Way Comes
2000, Demolition Records

Hmmm...I wonder if this band has really read a lot of Ray Bradbury, aside from the novel from which they stole the title of this album. No matter. Reviewing this record poses something of a challenge for me: this isn't the kind of music that I normally get to listen to, and it really isn't the sort of thing that I would go in for on my own if I was shopping for new CDs. This is in no way a negative aside: Wykked Wytch are not exactly my cup of tea (a little too cartoonish, to tell you the truth - or rather, a different kind of cartoonish from what I am used to, let's be fair) but I can see how they would appeal to a certain minority or niche in the underground. A quick question - why the 'y' substituted for 'i' in their name? Is that supposed to be a feminist comment, a gender-political statement? Just a regular garden-variety gimmick? The tiny bio delivered with this promo says that this band 'combines a vast palette of influences' - a legitimate claim, even if it is a bit overstated. Wykked Wytch throw in a lot of extra elements/influences/musical addendums on the edge of their sound to boost their own sense of originality and to try to keep their rather simplistic style from getting too monotonous - here we have some classical guitar work, movie samples (from Evil Dead, no less), trilling lead work, etc. For the most part this music is centered around an outdated thrash metal framework (simple muted chords, bouncing rhythms, completely retro lyrics and choruses, cover art from some children's Halloween book) and on top of that they add in middle segments, intros, or outros that try to stretch these fundamentals into something new. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they don't. The opening song 'Wytch's Sabbath' is probably the best song on this disc, so it was a wise choice for an opener, but it also sets a standard that I feel the rest of this material can't live up to. It also seems to boast a different production than the second song - what? How do you explain that? Maybe I'm imagining it.

Yes, this band has a female singer, the 'diva' (why do labels insist on calling all female singers divas?) 'Demoness' Ipek, who, the bio claims, is of German and Turkish heritage (why does this matter at all?), and she is probably the only thing that sets this band apart from a million others bands playing this kind of music during Happy Hour in your favorite local bar every day. Her vocals show a great deal of intensity (I hesitate to use the term 'passion') and emotion at times, and while she is definitely in the minority when it comes to her singing/screaming style (a lot closer to Chuck Billy than Anneke from The Gathering could ever be!), I don't mind her vocals at all. In 'Wytch's Sabbath' they are actually pretty good, if a little strained towards the end. Again, she offers up a sense of style that is completely retro in feel - coming off like a Bay Area thrash singer (a little like Baloff from Exodus in certain instances) when she's not just screaming her head off. Because she seems to be the focus and center of this band (the bio booklet features no less than three pictures of her) I think I can safely say that this thing is all a promotional tool for the advancement of her 'career' - that, or the record label really thinks pictures of her will sell albums...

I have the feeling that a large amount of the material on this record is actually from an early date - or has been worked over a number of times before the recording, to the point where all the original/subversive points have been ironed out in an attempt to make all the songs sound as if they belong on the same album (meaning they all come from the same period of composition) - there is a certain flatness to this material that I can't escape when listening to if this band just can't seem to create something new, original, or really innovative even though they are trying very hard to do so. Oh well. Halfway through this record I started to fall asleep, more out of desperation than anything else...if this band is going to release anything more in the future, I would suggest they take a long, hard look at what else is going on the scene...this album sounds like the band has been deep-frozen for fifteen years. Boring.