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Album Reviews

Deer Lord: ‘WITCHES BREW/PSYCHEDELIC ROADKILL’ EP Review

Northern California isn’t exactly known for its Stoner Rock. Sure, Sleep was from central California (San Jose), but it sometimes seems like there’s a void along Route 5 into Oregon and Washington. 

Well, enter Deer Lord. 

Deer Lord is a heavy Psychedelic Doom and Rock ‘n’ Roll trio from Sonoma County, CA—and they specialize in mountainous, fuzzy riffs and groovy tunes worth partying to. 

Their latest pseudo EP—WITCHES BREW/PSYCHEDELIC ROADKILL—is a one-two punch of unsettling Doom and endless Rock ‘n’ Roll fun. 

About Deer Lord

Deer Lord was formed in 2019 and includes:

  • Sheafer McOmber – Guitar/Vocals
  • Jared Marill – Bass
  • Ryan Alderman – Drums

The band’s first EP was 2020’s Deer Lord, a six-pack of high-energy Doom ‘n’ Roll, channeling the energy of Monster Magnet with the heaviness of Kyuss—and wrapping it all in Psychedelic fuzz. 

Although similar, WITCHES BREW/PSYCHEDELIC ROADKILL is a different beast. Even though these two tracks run nearly 11 minutes combined, the songs bleed together—and they’re meant to be experienced like a single. 

The end result: A musical buzz that isn’t quite an EP and not quite a single release. 

Regardless, this tidy pseudo EP is only an appetizer; Deer Lord has a two-part album in the works, and the first half is planned for release later this year.

WITCHES BREW/PSYCHEDELIC ROADKILL Review

Tracks: 2
Length: 10:40
Release Date: October 31, 2022

Track 1 – Witches Brew

“Witches Brew” opens in an ethereal haze punctuated by rumbling Sabbath-esque strings. Once the unsettling introduction concludes, the song rips into a menacing parade of Earth-rattling riffs, with a shrill metallic lead guitar shrieking through the void. When Sheafer McOmber’s vocals finally enter, they’re distant—cutting through the fog on their own plume of smoke. 

While the song begins in a heavy, Doom-inspired style (think of a darker version of their intro to “Hopeful Transmission”), it eventually tears into a fun Rock ‘n’ Roll part two, complete with a Psychedelic solo and even a few clinks of the cowbell. 

Fittingly, “Witches Brew” concludes on an audio sample about psychedelic drugs—a sample that leads us directly into “Psychedelic Roadkill.”

Track 2 – Psychedelic Roadkill

“Psychedelic Roadkill” is Doom ‘n’ Roll—incredibly heavy and incredibly fun. And with those quick riffs over the occasional drum roll, you may hear comparisons to Earl of Hell (especially “Burn the Witch”). 

This song features dark, barked vocals with a dash of reverb (which may remind you of singer Sheafer McOmber’s solo project—Bloodshot Buffalo). 

Final Thoughts

Pros: As a band, Deer Lord is expanding their sonic palette. While they’ve always excelled at the Psychedelic Doom ‘n’ Roll, now they’re demonstrating a willingness to experiment with audio samples and ethereal soundscapes—two factors that have made this little EP even more complex than its predecessor. 

If this is any indication of what’s to come, I can’t wait for the album ahead! 

Cons: Audiophiles might complain about the placement of the vocals (they’re far back in the mix) or how some of the low ends don’t exactly punch through (the kick drum, for example, doesn’t pummel you in the way you’d like a Doom record to). Overall, though, this is a carefully written and constructed combo, so slip on your favorite headphones, crank the volume knob, and submit to the Doom ‘n’ Roll whirlwind.

Where to Learn More About Deer Lord

To learn more about Deer Lord, check them out on Bandcamp, Facebook, or Instagram.

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