Concocting a potent sonic assault that recalls the foreboding darkness of Black Sabbath, Savages’ monochrome post-punk, and the dirty breathlessness of Bleach-era Nirvana, Manchester’s Witch Fever create a confrontational racket that takes no prisoners. Today, the doom punk quartet share a new single, ‘Reincarnate’, an anthem of post-breakup independence, set to Sabbath-esque graveyard noise, alongside a seductive video that explores women’s desires and fetishes.
‘Reincarnate’ is just a taste of what’s to come from Witch Fever, with further tracks to follow over the coming months, all recorded over a period of days with producer Jaime Gomez Arellano (Mayhem, Ulver, Ghost) in 2020.
Formed four years ago through mutual friends, the band went through several personnel changes before arriving at the current line-up. In 2019, bassist Alex, drummer Annabelle, vocalist Amy and guitarist Alisha released the rabid single ‘Berzerk(h)er’. Then came an eerie follow-up with ‘The Hallow’ via Venn Records, which the band worked on with Creation Records founder Alan McGee, the Manchester scene legend who launched the careers of My Bloody Valentine, Oasis and Primal Scream.
Alongside news of their deafening new single, Witch Fever also announce that they have signed to Music For Nations, part of Sony Music.
“We’re not here to say, ‘This is what you need to do with your life, we just want to make angry music and make sure we don’t take any shit from people who give us shit,” says singer Amy.
“There’s a big emphasis on female empowerment and female anger,” adds bassist Alex on the message raging behind the band’s music — “It’s about celebrating yourself and self-expression. Not being stifled and held back.”
“There’s something about playing heavier music that feels so empowering,” says guitarist Alisha. “We all have completely different music tastes and inspirations, but that’s what makes our sound so unique.”
“It’s important for us to do things our own way and represent ourselves as we wish, regardless of outside opinion,” adds drummer Annabelle. “We represent an honest voice about breaking out of the indoctrination in our society and all oppressive institutions.”
Witch Fever’s modern punk should put them firmly on the radar of fans of Bikini Kill, IDLES, Dream Wife, Savages, and Show Me The Body, bands who are pushing noisily for social change. And in 2021, the band plan to take their new music and the white-hot energy of their relentless live show on the road. They’ll be playing the sold-out Truck Festival in July. In September, they will be playing Leeds’ All Dayer A Wave Before A Kick In The Chest, playing Devon’s Burn It Down, and Futurama Festival in Liverpool headlined by Heaven 17, and Peter Hook and The Lights. In 2022 they will be joining IDLES at London’s Brixton Academy, dates in Europe, and supporting fellow IDLES support Bambara for dates on their own Europe tour.
Tonight they’ll be giving a live-streamed performance for the esteemed Scruff Of The Neck in Manchester from 7.30 pm. Log in here Twitch.tv/scruffoftheneck.
Witch Fever’s name is inspired by the hysteria accompanying the witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts, and Europe. The band have long considered that this was a means to belittle, suppress, and diminish women.
William Morris, owner of the UK’s largest mining plant, DGC, and originator of the British Arts and Crafts movement and arguably the finest wallpaper designer of his generation, coined the term Witch Fever, a phrase to dismiss arsenic and- wallpaper-related public health concerns in 1885.
In Germany, in 1814, Wilhelm Sattler created an extremely toxic arsenic and verdigris compound pigment, Schweinfurt green, also known as Paris, Vienna, or emerald green, which became an instant favourite amongst designers and manufacturers the world over, thanks to its versatility in creating enduring yellows, vivid greens, and brilliant blues.
Most insidiously, the arsenic-laced pigment made its way into intricately patterned, brightly coloured wallpapers and from there, as they became increasingly in vogue, into the Victorian home. As its use became widespread, commercial arsenic mines increased production to meet the near-insatiable demand. Not least of which was whose owner was William Morris.
Witch Fever are:
Amy Walpole: Lead vocals
Alex Thompson: Bass and backing vocals
Alisha Yarwood: Guitar
Annabelle Joyce: Drums