Album Review: Space Witch – Arcanum (HeviSike Records)


Space Witch are a psychedelic stoner/doom band that draw on influences from 70’s prog and psychedelia. The band formed in Stoke-on-Trent, England, UK in 2007 and consist of Darren Lee Rowlands (Guitars and founder member), Daniel Mansfield (drums), Peter Callaghan (Vocals and Electronics) and Tomas Cairn (Bass).

Arcanum is the their second full length album & will be released on June 9th 2017 via HeviSike Records.

Space Witch band pic

The psychedelic sounds of Arcanum mixed with the stoner/doom style of metal results in a 4 track album that leaves a crater sized impact. Its dark sound blended with these trippy elements sees the near 16 minute long opener, Cosmoniod just fly by. It’s a challenging listen though (as prog often is) & as likely to get as many detractors as it will fans.

Space Witch do paint a pretty picture, the record has a real 70’s psychedelic feel to it. Dark, twisted & with enough doomy riffs to keep things interesting. Astro Genocide is super-short by comparison coming in at just over 6 minutes. It’s also the most exciting of the 4 songs.

A song that has so much meat on the bones, escaping the clutches of the psychedelic noise to deliver a stonkingly heavy piece of music. Even more surprising are the vocals that pop up near the end. Part shouting, part spoken-word…their inclusion is brief but welcome adding another layer to an already exciting piece of music.

The sounds of a lively jazz bar leads us into Hex before a killer doom riff is dropped. Slow & dripping with menace, the vocals return in fine form here. Done in a way as if the vocalist is conducting a sermon, it raises the hairs on your body for its intensity. Unfortunately the middle part of the song comes close to ruining a strong start.

Super-slow & dragging on for ages, the previously interesting trippy sounds are just grating here. An attempt to pick things back up marginally improve things but a sour taste has been left in the mouth.

Arcanum finishes off with Battle Hag, the first few minutes of which are the longest intro/outro of s song ever. Near the 4 minute mark of a 12+ minute song, a nice riff picks up & suddenly things get going. This faster, harder hitting style with the psychedelic sounds sitting in the background is far superior sounding. While Space Witch does blend the faster & slower sides together well for the most part it just doesn’t have that ‘oomph’ you find elsewhere.

There is no getting away from the unique quality of Arcanum. As far as capturing that 70s psychedelic style & jamming it with doom/stoner, Space Witch have accomplished their mission. It’s a damn fine album but has a few too many boring moments for it to live too long in the memory.

Space Witch – Arcanum Full Track Listing:

1. Cosmoniod
2. Astro Genocide
3. Hex
4. Battle Hag

You can pick up Space Witch over on their bandcamp page & you can find out more about them on Facebook. You can also check some of their music out over on YouTube.


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