The first demo of ARKHAM WITCH, originally recorded and released on CD-r in 2009, finally gets a proper treatment! It's now re-mastered and released on digipak format (limited to 250 units) with 2 bonus tracks: "The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune" (2011, first time on CD) and "For Metal" (2012, previously unreleased alternate version - live in the studio). This exclusive collectors edition features artwork by the band's guitarist Aldo "Dodo" Delle Rose, and comes on 3-panel digipak with lyrics included. A must for all die-hard fans of this British heavy/doom metal bunch, and for fans of bands like THE LAMP OF THOTH, DEEP SWITCH, HELL, WITCHFINDER GENERAL, JUDAS PRIEST, PENTAGRAM, SAINT VITUS, MANILLA ROAD, CIRITH UNGOL, VALHALL or DANZIG... as long as they don't mind low-fi recording and production!
ARKHAM WITCH was formed in 2008 in Keighley, West Yorkshire, UK, after a diabolical pact by Simon Iff? (vocals and guitars) and Emily Ningauble (drums) to raise the elder gods using a doom filled, NWOBHM tinged traditional metal sound frequency as a summoning device. The group was also a companion project to their other band THE LAMP OF THOTH. After a few months of rehearsals, the only blasphemous being from beyond the duo had summoned was the bloke from environmental health! Chuffed with his qualified opinion that the loudness of the band was equivalent to a Boeing 747 taking off, the two then recorded a five-song demo in 2009, which included such Lovecraft inspired ditties as "Arkham Witch", "Legions of the Deep" and "Hyades".
Determined to do something with the wealth of material Simon had been writing, the two recruited bass player John Demaine, who had previously played in one of Simon's old bands IRONSTORM (albeit not at the same time).
John began jamming with the band and a whole host of new songs were written. Around this time, Aldo "Dodo" Delle Rose, guitarist for Yorkshire thrash metallers LET 'EM BURN (who is another former IRONSTORM bandmate, and with whom Simon and Emily had played in a band called DIAVOLO), offered his services. More songs were written and a debut album began to take shape.
In between this the band made two successful live appearances, the first in February 2011 at the Doomsday IV festival in Wakefield, along with NOMAD SON, MORTALICUM, IRON VOID and others, and the second in September at the warm up show for the Dublin Doom Day, along with ASOMVEL and MOUNTAIN THRONE. The kids seemed to dig it!
It was also during this time that it was announced that the well-respected underground label Barbarian Wrath would release the first ARKHAM WITCH album and that the recording of what would become the band’s debut opus "On Crom's Mountain" had begun.
The band headed west, passed through border control and into the realms of Lancashire, Yorkshire’s evil shadowy counterpart, and in a period of a few months at Fullstack Studios in Great Harwood the differences between the White and Red roses were set apart, and the debut album was put down. The band paused only for a triumphant gig in April at the Hammer of Doom festival in Würzburg, Germany, where they not only got a very enthusiastic response from the packed audience despite being the afternoon openers, but also got to play on the same bill as their heroes PENTAGRAM.
Not long after this show the album was finally released, and to the relief of the band, was received in the same spirit as the demo.
In the wake of the release of "On Crom's Mountain", in November 2011 the awesome foursome ventured over to the Mediterranean to play the prestigious Malta Doom Metal festival, where they were on the bill with such heavy weights as FORSAKEN, NOMAD SON and the legendary PAGAN ALTAR. Going on after the almighty NOMAD SON, the band managed to deliver a storming set.
Soon after, ARKHAM WITCH started working on the highly anticipated follow up to "On Crom's Mountain", and meanwhile contacted Metal On Metal Records, who, having been big fans since the Doomsday festival gig, eagerly offered the band a deal to release it as well as the following album. The first audible result of this new pact was the song entitled "For Metal" which the band recorded especially for the 5th volume of the label's compilation "Compendium of Metal".
On the 16th of April 2012 ARKHAM WITCH hit the studio to record their second album, "Legions of the Deep". 8 days, 312 lagers, 82 whiskeys, 22 cigars, 4 babychams, 2 nervous breakdowns and a packet of Haribos later, and the band clambered from out that musical tomb with the bare bones of a new opus. The group crossed the border into shadowy Lancashire and returned to Full Stack Studios on Queen's Jubilee (4th-5th of June) to put the finishing touches - solos backing vocals - to the album.
"Legions of the Deep" was put out on November 9th by Metal On Metal Records, which, through its RAW Metal division, released also "On Crom's Mountain" on cassette (limited to 66 copies) later in December 2012.
Having an uncontrollable and incurable compulsion for writing and recording, the band wrote and recorded an EP "Hammerstorm" (consisting of 4 own songs and a cover of "Thunder in the Thundra", originally by THOR), before focusing on songs for their upcoming 3rd full-length. They self-released it in August.
2013 was a very busy year for this bunch on the live front. Apart from playing several local gigs, they had a couple of tours and festival appearances abroad.
On July 24th they played to a packed and sweat-dripping room of headbangers at Headbangers Open Air warm-up show (in Itzehoe, Germany), supporting Aussie thrash legends HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH.
On October 4th they flew to ...the United Arab Emirates. They say it was for Live Necromancy festival in Dubai (featuring some great underground bands like PAGAN ALTAR, MIDNIGHT, DEATHHAMMER and NECROMANTHEON on the bill), but rumour has it it was in their never-ending search of the Necronomicon. It was that gig where their current bass player Raj (or is it Jay?) debuted as a fill-in drummer.
Worth mentioning is also Full Moon Dog festival, organized in remembrance of Jay-Jay Winter of ASOMVEL. ARKHAM WITCH played there on October 12th, together with PAGAN ALTAR, DESOLATION ANGELS, ASOMVEL, AMULET and a few others.
Next up was the revered Live Evil festival in London - a festival with billings chosen from the (in)famous Fenriz' Band of the Week bands. They played there on October 19th and shared the stage with SATAN, MIDNIGHT, PENTAGRAM (Chile), RANGER, CONDOR, ELIMINATOR, VAMPIRE, BASTARDHAMMER and others. At that gig they performed with 2 guitars, as John switched to one while Raj/Jay took over the bass duties (which sometimes were also handled by Simon).
On 8th of November ARKHAM WITCH went to Austria to play at Doom Over Vienna festival, together with LORD VICAR, ALTAR OF OBLIVION, MAEL MORDHA, HOODED PRIEST, IRON VOID, MAGMA RISE and a couple of other acts.
And in October and November, they ventured on a 2-leg Trident Attack Tour with their doom buddies IRON VOID and HOODED PRIEST (first part consisting of 4 gigs in UK, second, including Doom Over Vienna and 3 other shows, in Austria, Germany and Belgium).
In 2014 ARKHAM WITCH focused mainly on writing songs for their next album, and they recorded and gave an exclusive track "Beings of Fire and Vengeance" for Metal On Metal Records "Compendium of Metal Vol. 7" compilation CD.
They played some gigs, too, including shows with THE PROPHECY, GOATESS and IRON VOID in UK. On October 23rd 2014 they were back in Malta to play at the Malta Doom Metal festival warm-up show, together with FANGTOOTH and 12th ODE.
Meanwhile it became clear that unfortunately their 3rd studio album, tentatively titled "Arkham Witch III: I Am Providence", would not see the light of day in 2014. The band encountered a few setbacks while recording it, so Metal On Metal Records changed the plans last minute. The album's release date has been pushed back to early 2015, but instead the label decided to put out the band's first recordings, giving them a treatment they deserve (originally the 2009 demo was out only on CD-R). It has been re-mastered, and released under the title "Demos from the Deep" on November 14th, as limited to 250 copies digipak, with 2 bonus tracks (one of them first time on CD and the other a previously unreleased version of "For Metal" song). A must have for all real metalheads... posers need not apply!
UK (Keighley, West Yorkshire), 2008
Simon Iff? (vocals and bass)
Aldo "Dodo" Doom (guitars)
John "The Demon" Demaine (guitars)
Jayanta Brahma (bass)
Emily Ningauble (drums)
This is ARKHAM WITCH's debut album from 2011 "On Crom's Mountain" released now on cassette format, limited to 66 hand-numbered copies, with a new cover art. What can be said about this kick-ass album that hasn't been said yet? Not much probably, so we'll just pull out a few quotes from Michael Ballue's review for Hellride Music Forums: "Ten brand new rough and ready, in your face metal smashers leaping out of the speakers to savage the listener like a rabid wolf. (...) The magnificent beast that first roared on the demo is just bigger, stronger and more experienced. (...) Arkham Witch have an all too rare ability to write songs that are unadulterated metal yet catchy and immediate beyond belief. As you head bang, they burrow into your brain like an aggressive horde of parasites. (...) There is a wealth of variety and not even close to a single clunker in this over 50 minutes of mayhem. The quality control is iron clad and the spirit is unrelenting. The musicianship is spot on perfect throughout and the songwriting is extraordinarily good. Really there is every reason for you to buy this immediately and not a single not to... for fucks sake get on with it immediately if you don't own this already."
ARKHAM WITCH is a name that should be already familiar to the old school heavy metal and doom fans, especially those into THE LAMP OF THOTH, the previous band of the vocalist Simon and drummer Emily. On their sophomore album the Brits serve one ridiculously catchy "hit" after another. Their influences are pretty obvious: DEEP SWITCH, HELL, WITCHFINDER GENERAL, JUDAS PRIEST, PENTAGRAM, SAINT VITUS, MANILLA ROAD, CIRITH UNGOL... but at the same time it's not possible to mistake them for any other band (except for TLoT perhaps), as their personality shines strongly through their music and attitude. It's straightforward doom and NWOBHM laden traditional metal, occult, but with a tinge of humor, with these trademark bard/brigand type vocals of Simon. And if it makes you do weird moves and speak in strange tongues, you are not alone... you've just joined the Legions of the Deep!
• "Demo 2009" (2009)
• "On Crom's Mountain" (2011)
Full-length, Barbarian Wrath (CD), RAW Metal/Metal On Metal Records (cassette)
• "Legions of the Deep" (2012)
Full-length, Metal On Metal Records
• "Hammerstorm" (2013)
• "Demos from the Deep" (2014)
Full-length, RAW Metal