Review ·

Success is a funny thing, especially for musicians, in that it often signals a fat paycheck but comes with a set of constricting expectations. J Mascis, one of the unlikeliest video stars of the 120 Minutes era, made his biggest imprint as the guitar-weilding frontman of Dinosaur Jr., parlaying hooks and clever visuals into the white whale of alternative musicians: mainstream visibility. But he actually started his career as a drummer, for hardcore bands Deep Wound and Upside Down Cross.


There are many worse things to be than an established icon, and Mascis, as indicated by his frequent returns to the band, doesn’t seem tired of the role. That doesn’t mean, however, that he’s immune to wondering what might have been had his career taken a slightly different path. On Paralyzed, the second album from Witch, Mascis returns to drumming and delivers an energetic set free of the expectations of his established stardom.


These songs are standard-issue doom metal, but there is an undeniable pleasure in hearing Mascis assault the drums with a primal fury absent from his technically perfect guitar playing. His playing, combined with the steady grooves of bassist Dave Sweetapple, is often front and center. This is partly owing to the bottom-heavy genre, but Mascis is musician of undeniable gifts, and Witch is unquestionably his band. With Paralyzed, Mascis gives us another reason not to write him off as solely a rock guitarist.





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Hmmm...I dig this album, but I definitely wouldn't qualify it as a "standard issue doom-metal" album, or even a metal album. Hard psychedelic rock, perhaps. And I think the impulse to call Witch "unquestionably Mascis's band" is too indie narrative-centric. He's a fine drummer but to my ears, Witch has as much to do with guitar tone, sloppiness, psych vocals and dissonance as Mascis's grooves.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/narfish/HeadbangSquare.jpg narfish

gots to agree with narfish here. Def more towards hard psych than doom-metal

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Jboh213/n38409054_33275787_4276.jpg jboh

Would you maybe be more likely to characterize the album as hard psychedelic rock because Mascis is playing on it?

/site_media/uploads/images/users/mburr/Photo 44.jpg mburr

Nope, Mascis has nothing to do with it. This album doesn't have the plodding tempos, Black Sabbath riff style, guitar tone or heaviness of doom metal bands like My Dying Bride, Candlemass, Corrupted, etc. Even earlier doom (St. Vitus, Pentagram) that had more of a hard rock vibe was heavier and more metallic than Witch.

People talk about Witchcraft as a doom band too, but I don't really hear that either. Maybe the word "witch" is the culprit?

/site_media/uploads/images/users/narfish/HeadbangSquare.jpg narfish

Why are people so hung up on putting these silly little labels on music (stoner, doom etc.). It does not matter. If its good, its good! This record is very good. It has the heaviness of the first one but also has this real damaged edge to it. I give them credit for taking some chances and not playing it safe. Witch comes up with some of the best changes and build-ups in their songs that I've heard in a very long time. I am still addicted to their first album and its great to have another one to throw into the player!

iron head

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