If you haven’t heard Margarita Witch Cult yet, you’re missing out. Hailing from Birmingham (the birthplace of Heavy Metal), Margarita Witch Cult specializes in “Stadium Doom,” according to their Bandcamp page.
“Stadium Doom” is a great descriptor. Margarita Witch Cult does play Doom-tinged music, but they infuse that heavy gloom with upbeat drums and guitars—and a genuine knack for writing hooks.
So, if their debut self-titled album is any indication, Margarita Witch Cult is primed to explode in popularity. And if it wasn’t for that highly anticipated Dozer album, they would have snagged No. 1 on the April 2023 Doom Charts!
About Margarita Witch Cult
Although it seems like Margarita Witch Cult just burst onto the scene, the trio actually released the Witchfinder EP in early 2022. Comprised of only “The Witchfinder Comes” and “Aradia”—both of which made it onto their full album—Witchfinder demonstrated a penchant for combining Doomy low ends with catchy Stoner Rock riffs.
This, then, is the band’s secret weapon: an intoxicating cross-genre sound that should appeal to a wide audience without alienating anyone from those individual genres.
For their debut album, the songs were written by Scott Abbott and recorded and mixed by Mark Gittins at Megatone Studio in Birmingham. The songs were mastered by Scott Middleton.
Margarita Witch Cult Album Review
Label: Heavy Psych Sounds
Release Date: April 21, 2023
1. Diabolical Influence
“Diabolical Influence” immediately tears into a tight riff that might call to mind dark, mysterious, and upbeat acts like Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. And, like Uncle Acid, Margarita Witch Cult was sure to slip in a catchy chorus that I wound up singing to myself a few hours after listening.
While much of Margarita Witch Cult’s music is easy to listen to (they did hit No. 2 on the Doom Charts), their vocals might take a quick adjustment for some fans of the genre.
2. Death Lurks At Every Turn
A furiously quick song that barely lasts more than two minutes, “Death Lurks At Every Turn” sounds like a fast-riffing mashup of Uncle Acid and Kyuss, with that thick, Stoner Metal riff and pounding drums.
And the lyrics are pretty great as well: “Lurks at every turn / It’s your time to burn!”
3. The Witchfinder Comes
After the pacing of tracks 1 and 2, “The Witchfinder Comes” moves a bit slower in the verse—but its cool Stoner Rock riff more than makes up for it. Of course, the band wrote a great chorus for this song as well.
Although it’s a strange juxtaposition moving back and forth between the distinctive verse and easy-listening chorus, it’s still a fun song—especially with the carefree guitar work in the second half.
4. Be My Witch
Although those intro drums might sound vaguely of “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden, this is no New Wave of British Heavy Metal song. “Be My Witch” might be the catchiest track on the record, and that intoxicating lead guitar carries us through the song whenever the vocals aren’t carrying the melody.
Blistering speeds push “Annihilation” forward like a Motörhead classic. To that end, the song runs less than two minutes—but it still packs in some anthemic goodness and a great guitar solo.
6. Theme From Cyclops
After “Annihilation,” “Theme From Cyclops” is another great song running less than two minutes. This time, though, the song is a genuinely fun Stoner Rock instrumental jam that would make a great intro song for a live show set.
7. Lord of the Flies
You’d expect something brutal from a song named after a book about a bunch of shipwrecked kids who decide to murder each other. This song doesn’t disappoint. Doomy and haunting, “Lord of the Flies” is an unsettling track that occasionally crosses the line into brutal themes (especially with those lyrics and Doom-inspired guitars).
The opening of “Aradia” is purely Desert Rock—enough that you might even hear some old school Sasquatch in there. Another fantastic instrumental track, “Aradia” goes heavier than “Theme From Cyclops.”
As heavy as Margarita Witch Cult gets on songs like “Lord of the Flies,” certain moments of “Sacrifice” make it the heaviest and Doomiest track on the album (though it balances those heavier moments with catchier sections). Interestingly, the band throws a bit of a fake-out toward the end: Instead of fading out the entire album (as it seems like they’re doing around 3:15), they come roaring back for the grand finale. Bravo!
Final Thoughts On Margarita Witch Cult
Final Score: 9.5/10
Standout Tracks: “Be My Witch,” “Theme From Cyclops,” and Diabolical Influence”
Pros: As we mentioned above: There’s plenty to love here. Margarita Witch Cult’s greatest skill is combining haunting Doom themes with catchier Stoner Rock riffs—resulting in a unique sonic finger print that is as heavy as it is fun to listen to.
If Margarita Witch Cult continues down this path, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them become one of the most exciting and sought-after acts in the underground!
Cons: This is one hell of a debut, and any complaints listeners have will really come down to personal preferences.