Witchbones - The Seas of Draugen [Bonehead Productions - 2019]One man black metal bands have been a thing since the beginning of the scene, and they show no signs of slowing down. Forming in 2018, Witchbones is Portland, Oregon's newest entry into the one man scene, and his latest album, The Seas of Draugen, comes this month from Iron Bonehead Productions. Capturing the grim, fairly lo-fi darkness that speaks to winters and witchcraft, this quick hitter of an album gets its message across without wasting much time, and here, brevity really is the soul of wit.
Not one for too much set up or overstaying his welcome, Witchbones opens up The Seas of Draugen and quickly gets beyond the pomp and into the dark, gristly meat within. Just under 27 minutes long, to say this album is short would be misleading, while in reality, it is just pretty efficient. Elements that work are delivered and left, not kept around to pummel the listener with their nagging for 20 extra minutes. Even the song structures aren't overly complex, obscuring the notes and tones required for enjoyment on the first listen. This is easy to digest metal, plain and simple, and that is a fact that often seems overlooked. A lot of the albums that come out with this approach overcompensate by being too long and ruining the wondrous simplicity that their songs created. That's not to say that this is just simple metal and that's it. There are fun, buzzing riffs, plodding drums, and grim vocals on display, and The Seas of Draugen effectively conjures up a dark and menacing atmosphere. Witchbones just manages to do this quickly and efficiently so that none of this is lost to wandering minds and overly critical thoughts. It really feels like this one was made with the listener in mind, instead of being solely for the creator.
Witchbones' latest, The Seas of Draugen, brings forth a quick and dirty entry into the one man band black metal scene. Showcasing Vardlokker's talents on all the instruments (and I'm assuming production), Iron Bonehead give this album to the masses. Coming in at just under 27 minutes, this one is perfect for most commutes, allowing the listener to digest this whole while undertaking their tasks, and giving them the ability to experience this with ease. Kudos to efficiency!Paul Casey