Six years. We’ve been waiting for Electrical Storm for six years—literally since the first time we heard Unmountable Stairs. We dug Witchrider so much, we immediately wanted one thing: more Witchrider.
Still, we hesitated when we saw Witchrider had finally released Electrical Storm. Even though the singles (“You Lied,” “I Am Confused,” and “The Weatherman”) had seemed promising, there was no telling what would actually be on the album.
So much can happen in six years. Band members grow artistically and personally while the relationships between them tighten or diminish. After a debut like Unmountable Stairs, the band could have leaned in 100 different directions.
We weren’t sure what to expect.
So we played “Shadows,” the first track, while holding our breath.
Within the first few notes, we realized how unreasonable we’d been. We should have known better than to doubt something from Fuzzorama Records.
Witchrider’s Electrical Storm is a logical next step in the band’s sound. Unmountable Stairs was noteworthy for its Queens of the Stone Age-inspired sound with swirling, fuzzy guitars, powerful drums, and aching vocals. Electrical Storm is much of what made Unmountable Stairs great, but the songwriting is tighter, the songs are polished to reduce the fuzz, and, as the title suggests, there’s a tinge of Electronica.
Witchrider is a four-piece from Graz, Austria. Although their name comes from another term for sleep paralysis (“Riding the Witch”), the band has an incredible sense of humor that doesn’t always come through in their songs. The Witchrider Facebook bio, for example, simply says: “80s and 90s kids. We enjoy extremely long walks on the beach and we smell good after a shower.” And the official music video for “You Lied” is a smorgasbord of green screen effects with surprises like South Park and Tom Hanks in Cast Away.
Electrical Storm Review
Here’s how Electric Storm breaks down, track by track:
Track 1: Shadows
After a six-year wait, “Shadows” is what you’d hope for from Witchrider: heavy distortion, strong vocals, and excellent riffs. Still, there’s definite growth from the band members. “Shadows” is slightly Industrial with tinges of Electronica. With these additional ingredients, the chorus is a momentous occasion marked by mystical, layered vocals.
Track 2: You Lied
“You Lied” sounds like it could have been plucked from Unmountable Stairs. The track has the same infectious melody and riffing in songs like “1 for 5” or “Witch-Hunt.” “You Lied” is a powerful rocker with a monstrous dual-guitar attack in many sections, which made it a no-brainer as the first single before the album’s release.
Track 3: Electrical Storm
“Electrical Storm” is the first time we really hear Witchrider break away from their mold. The intro is ethereal, with the shimmering guitars echoing through the stratosphere. This break from the band’s Hard Rock/Stoner Rock/Fuzz Rock roots may come as a surprise to some, but Witchrider nails the sound perfectly, layering vocals upon vocals to evoke a new emotion in their music catalog.
Track 4: I Am Confused
“I Am Confused” is a classic Witchrider track. It checks all of the boxes: a great riff, lots of fuzz, strong vocals, and another guitar with fuzzy tones soaring over everything else. As a bonus, “I Am Confused” gives us a little more of the band’s signature humor in the opening lines: “Who I am, I lick toes!”
The humor doesn’t stop there. Take a look at the music video, which is about a doll hiring someone to sabotage their video shoot:
Track 5: Mess Creator
“Mess Creator” is a buffet of guitar work, opening with waves of reverb and intricate riffing. By the time we reach the chorus, we’re back to Witchrider’s signature blend of blasted fuzz. “Mess Creator” ends with a blistering guitar solo uncharacteristic for the band to this point, but it’s a welcomed addition!
Track 6: Let Go
We didn’t expect to write anything like this when we started listening to Electrical Storm, but “Let Go” owes a lot to U.K.’s Bush, the band popular in the ‘90s for songs like “Machinehead” and “Glycerine.”
The connections are faint in the beginning, with a steady, dogged approach to the drums, bass, and guitar. But it’s not until 1:23 where the guitars disappear and the lyrics “Into my fading light” pulse into the void that we hear an unmistakable connection to late Bush.
Track 7: First You Break
At 5:46, “First You Break” is the longest track on the album. Fittingly, “First You Break” is slower and introspective, with big, expansive strings.
Track 8: Keep Me Out of It
Coming off the heels of “First You Break,” “Keep Me Out Of It” is another slow, deliberate song. While it doesn’t have the same pop of previous tracks on this album, the Witchrider crew is skilled enough to ensure “Keep Me Out Of It” is still emotionally impactful.
Track 9: It’s Crooked
After the mysterious intro, “It’s Crooked” sounds almost exactly like Black Holes and Revelations-era Muse. While unexpected, it’s not exactly surprising from a band like Witchrider, especially on an album called “Electrical Storm.”
Track 10: Come Back
Like so many of Witchrider’s songs, “Come Back” features a fun, intricate primary riff before jumping into an infectious chorus relying on layered guitars.
While textbook Witchrider on its surface, the song does hold a few surprises. After the wave of the chorus, there’s a new guitar approach never heard before in the band’s discography, and the song concludes with a gutsy guitar solo that is unlike anything Witchrider has released before.
Track 11: The Weatherman
“The Weatherman” is the most haunting track on Electrical Storm, opening with meandering drums and thumping bass to fill the void. Finally, a sitar emerges, adding a dash of mystery. Between the layered vocals and sampled thunderstorms, “The Weatherman” is terrifying—a quality played up in its Blair Witch Project-inspired music video:
Pros: Electrical Storm is still characteristically Witchrider, but the album demonstrates the band’s willingness to experiment with their sound. To be perfectly honest, Electrical Storm is as much a Pop album as it is a Hard Rock/Stoner Rock/Fuzz Rock album. If we were still in 1994, we wouldn’t be surprised to hear tracks like “You Lied” or “Come Back” over the radio in between “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Glycerine.”
Cons: Those who loved Witchrider’s retro production quality and extreme fuzz in the past will be disappointed. Still, they shouldn’t be surprised: Unmountable Stairs was extremely polished when compared to the Witchrider EP released a year beforehand. Electrical Storm is one more step in that direction.
Listen to Witchrider’s Electrical Storm
If you’d like to learn more about Witchrider, visit the Witchrider website.