4th May 2017 – Self-released
01. Sagittarius A*
02. Astrogalactic Sprites
03. Cult of the Druid
04. Forbidden Fruit
06. Tyrannosaurus Hex
Cybernetic Witch Cult are dropping releases at a rate of knots; two studio albums and a live record in only a few short years is quite a legacy already. Building on their established psych doom/DIY sound, they’ve re-recorded some old classics and added two new tracks; off-the-cuff EPs like this can often be a little aimless, but Troglodithic Trip is a clear development in their sound.
Elevating previous material to a better recorded standard makes this release a great starting point for their material and great fun as a stand-alone. Cybernetic Witch Cult’s fantasy/cult film/dinosaur-worship songwriting themes remain intact but their sonic palette gets a huge low-end boost. It works here; they’ve greatly benefited from a boost to warmth and depth.
New tracks “Sagittarius A*” and “Cult of the Druid” fit nicely alongside the older re-worked tracks. There’s a particular focus on vocal placement; “Sagittarius A*“ has a particularly engaging Cathedral quality and “Cult of the Druid“‘s “we obey” hook helps to break up the 7-minute prog opus. In terms of individual performances, Alex Wyld’s vocals have never sounded so full and punchy; this is probably the clearest mark-up, and it’s a dramatic improvement on their previous outings. Kale Deane’s low-end sounds thunderous and new addition Lewis May fills the chair very well indeed, bringing some deft, tasteful snare fills which complement their often busy mix.
There are some flourishes added to the re-recorded versions; “Human” gains some samples and “Astrogalactic Sprites” features some additional high-pitched vocals. These add depth to their internal, bizarre mythology and are tasteful additions to already well-crafted tracks packed full of bizarre charm – notable addition “Tyrannosaurus Hex” concerns time travel, dinosaurs and black magic. Despite the apparent silliness the narratives are surprisingly well-worked out; concise storytelling is generally an optional extra for metal bands, so it’s nice to see that tradition upheld.
Witch Cult aren’t a novelty band but they’re in on their not-quite joke. If you veer towards po-faced no-jokes satanic doom or noise-dadaist sludge this is likely Not Your Jam. There is a sense that this is a curio for established fans – the improvement in quality from debut Morlock Rock really is dramatic – but equally for newcomers this is a treat. There’s a strong sense that Witch Cult are playing to their strengths; if you weren’t a fan before this may sway you to their fuzzed-out ways.
Cybernetic Witchcult are something of a singularity in UK doom; they’re heavily in on the fun but without descending into parody, smothered in fuzz but still essentially a songy band. Their film references and DIY aesthetic give them an affable vibe, so it’s nice to be reminded that they can also write bangers.