All Them Witches – Dying Surfer Meets His Maker

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Nostalgia is my friend. I seem to always find myself drifting away, revisiting remarkable moments of my past. Sometimes, entire blocks of time seem to blur and mash together, and I’m not able to recall specific events but I can recapture the general feeling of one of my life’s phases. Sometimes, I even long for a past I’ve never lived in. Regular readers of the site might have noticed how I’m drawn to art that channels the late 60s, early 70s vibe – a place in time where I wasn’t even a microscopic tadpole yet.

In their new LP, Tennessee band All Them Witches manages to activate several nostalgia receptors in my brain, in both sonic and personal ways; yet they can’t be described as a “retro” band. Praise the Maker.

In music, one of my main reasons to go old school is the production. I hate clicky drums. I think they’re bullshit. I hate brickwalled albums. Also bullshit. In Dying Surfer Meets His Maker, everything sounds perfect. Every instrument sounds exactly like it’s supposed to, takes exactly the amount of space it needs to take and, more importantly, every note played in this record is meaningful. There’s a variety unfound in many modern rock bands, with acoustic guitars being plucked prominently on “Call Me Star” and “Open Passageways”, harmonica in “This Is Where It Falls Apart” and multiple effects and tone variations throughout the album.

Charles Michael Parks Jr., the band’s vocalist and bassist, has said that the band “is really like having four guitars”. The statement could not be more accurate, as every track sees the instruments alternating in dominance, sometimes with multiple changes within the same song.

Portland Mercury described All Them Witches’ sound as “Allman Brothers gone Dopesmoker“, an analogy that fits second track “El Centro” to a tee. A repetitive, tectonic-shifting riff echoes like it’s being summoned by the ritualistic drumming. Soaring through the clouds of fuzz and drumbeats, the Allman element of the band’s sound delivers a rich and beautiful guitar tone. Sometimes sweet like a Red Velvet cake, other times incendiary, the guitars in Dying Surfer sound so good they seem to be from a long lost age.

While the band definitely reaches for the past as inspiration, they write songs with a modern and unique voice. Some moments are so infectious and energetic, like the chorus on “Dirt Preachers”, you could picture them echoing through a sold out arena. Before things get too comfy, you get hit in the face with dynamics, shifting the entire feel of the song. Because of the variety in instrumentation and composition, listening to Dying Surfer Meets His Maker as a whole can be a riveting experience.


I suffer from migraines.  Although it’s been a while since I’ve had frequent episodes, there were moments in my life where I wanted to shove a power drill through my skull. The feeling of a pulsating pain that lasts for hours and – slowly and steadily – increases in intensity is incredibly shitty. The upside is, you kind of know when it starts wearing off. Coming down from a migraine can be a glorious sensation.

If you ever watched House M.D., there’s an episode in season 2 called “Distractions”. In it, House takes nitroglycerin, which acts as a blood vessel dilator, to induce a migraine on himself and subsequently prove someone wrong. Later on in the episode, he drops acid to terminate his bitching headache.

For some reason, the more I listen to this record, the more I equate it to the feeling I get when I’m healing from a migraine. I turn the volume all the way up whenever I crave an immersive, releasing experience. Then, I instantly recall that one House episode, and from there on I start making multiple mental journeys to wherever Dying Surfer takes me.

With this record, All Them Witches proved that psychedelia doesn’t have to be derivative nor kitsch. It can still be healing, like it used to be. For that, I am thankful.

4 out of 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

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Dying Surfer Meets His Maker was released October 30th. You can buy it here.

  • Dubs

    How many witches?

    • Guacamole Jim

      All them.

    • damn near infinite

    • Stockhausen

      However many there are, that many.

    • Hubert

      A bunch

    • KJM, Shake Zula

      ALL OF THEM.

    • Sir Tapir The Based

      Four and a half

      • KJM, Shake Zula

        You look like a crustacean from the Paleozoic Era.

        • Sir Tapir The Based

          December 1st, 2015
          I believe the shake is starting seeing through my cover. I may I have to kill him so my mission can continue. No one else suspects anything.

        • Maik Beninton™
      • Boss the “Crimson King” Ross

        Ten fiddy

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      Infinite.

    • Dagon
  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    Bitches get stitches made out of witches.

  • KJM, Shake Zula

    My migraines were only stopped by taking enough benzos to pass out and hoping it would be gone by the time I woke up. Fortunately once I quit tobacco I stopped getting them.

    • Dagon

      I don’t fuck with benzos.

      Usually I just take whatever triptan I can get my hands on, close the shades and try to get some sleep.

      • i used to work with a guy who struggled with migraines. he tried LOTS of different things, the only thing that worked was changing his diet. he got a hold of a cook book for people with migraines, and never had another one.

        • judging from what i typed, it would seem that obtaining a book solved his issues. alas, it was after he started cooking the different recipes contained within the book, that he found relief.

          • Dagon

            Lots of different food types can be considered triggers… I’ve seen dudes who get them from chocolate, beer (occasionally happens to me), cheese, meat, whatever.

            Even perfume can cause them headaches.

          • Waynecro

            Hi, I’m an editor, and I approve this edit.

      • KJM, Shake Zula

        I have no recreational attraction to benzos. All they do is calm me down or put me right to sleep.

        • 100% PURE BLACKBEARD

          BLASPHEMY

          • KJM, Shake Zula

            Benzos are just a big off switch for me.

          • 100% PURE BLACKBEARD

            Fuckin a bro

          • KJM, Shake Zula

            Even a 0.5 mg K-pin will knock me out within an hour.

          • 100% PURE BLACKBEARD

            Pppff#ffffffffddd

          • KJM, Shake Zula

            I’ll pass out for 4-5 hours easily. OTOH, 20-30 mgs of Roxy keep the party going all night.

          • 100% PURE BLACKBEARD

            I prefer a good medley of those and some drink and some smoke

          • 100% PURE BLACKBEARD

            In fact, im livin that #xanbrolyfe rite now, grinding in diablo 3, waitin on fuckin korean food

          • KJM, Shake Zula

            Gotta wait until Saturday to live the #roxylyfe again.

          • 100% PURE BLACKBEARD

            I gotta wait til friday for more bud ( aka #resinhits)

          • KJM, Shake Zula

            Got plenty of that fortunately.

          • 100% PURE BLACKBEARD

            Old lady has a bad habit of cleaning bowls, unfortunately

          • KJM, Shake Zula

            I make sure nothing gets thrown away. Smokable resin gets set aside for a rainy day.

  • Guacamole Jim

    “I hate clicky drums. I think they’re bullshit. I hate brickwalled albums. Also bullshit.” TRUTH. Great review, FishGod.

    • Guacamole Jim

      I also realize my hypocrisy in loving Fallujah’s The Flesh Prevails, but let it be known I took points off for the terrible production.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    This is what current music should be.

    • Dubs

      Are they saving metal alongside Ghost?

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        Yes.

      • KJM, Shake Zula

        When a Metal act starts doing million selling business again, then we can talk about a band “saving Metal”.

        • more beer

          Even though those days are long gone. I don’t think metal needs saving. You have been around long enough to know. That everything in life goes in cycles. People will always seek out heavy music. It will always have it’s ups and downs. But it is here to stay.

          • KJM, Shake Zula

            Agreed.

          • more beer

            Did Tyree delete his account?

          • KJM, Shake Zula

            Dunno. He was here earlier today. Maybe I missed something?

          • more beer

            He was a little pissed about that graph thing. Now his comments are gone.

          • 100% PURE BLACKBEARD

            Jeez

          • KJM, Shake Zula

            We never know the full extent of what people on here deal with in their meatspace lives. I’ve blown up about small stuff too.

          • KJM, Shake Zula

            I love him to death, but he definitely has too much of a hair trigger when it comes to this stuff. Cutting down on booze has probably put him a bit on edge.

          • more beer

            As do I. ‘m sure he will get over it. Everyone gets pissed off and do things they normally wouldn’t. Plus not drinking would be much easier if he was able to smoke herb. I think he will be back. At least I hope he will. I have always enjoyed giving and receiving beer recommendations with him. Since he certainly knows his Beer & Metal!

          • Dubs

            I don’t either. Ye olde JJD said that metal would be dying without Ghost on an older post.

          • more beer

            You mean young and still wet behind the ears JJD. Ghost certainly are not the saviors of metal. I really don’t even consider them a metal band. More like hard rock. He is only saying that because only him and a couple of old hippy’s. Listen to the things he considers good. At this point metal will out live most of the stuff he listens to.

          • 100% PURE BLACKBEARD

            They definately arent a metal band, imo

          • more beer

            With this I agree.

          • KJM, Shake Zula

            Blackbeard plz!!

          • 100% PURE BLACKBEARD

            Sry kj

          • Dubs

            Aye.

  • Hubert

    This is really rad stuff. Great review.

  • Boss the “Crimson King” Ross

    Saw these guys open for The Sword. They put on a great show with some killer jams.

  • Dagon

    I am a dumbass and left no links or embeds. Please, try this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84_P1M3hHF8

  • Waynecro

    Great article, fish god. Thanks! I feel your migraine pain. I get those a lot and have for years. Actually, there was a period of about three months in 2008 when I had a severe migraine pretty much nonstop. Physical exertion (for example, lifting and boning) increased the severity of the headaches so much, that I would scream and curl into a ball for several minutes until the intense pain subsided. I was also passing out randomly throughout the day. The doctors did tons of tests but never figured out what was going on. After all that, I’m thankful alls I gets is migraines.

  • Óðinn
  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    Nostalgia is my friend too Dagon. I like to reminisce on my past and listen to bootlegs of converts from before I was born.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    I reconciled with that one girl from Tinder. I hope I don’t screw this up again.

    • Boss the Ross

      Best of luck.

    • KJM, Shake Zula

      Don’t go back into it with the assumption that you screwed it up or will do so again. You’re setting yourself up for failure if you do.

  • Eliza

    This band’s name makes me smile. I don’t know why, but there’s something about it kind of funny.

    • Boss the Ross

      It’s almost as if they know there a hundreds of bands with the word Witch, but they have topped them all by nonchalantly proclaiming all of the witches.

      • KJM, Shake Zula

        Every last freakin’ one of them.

      • Eliza

        That takes attitude.

  • Lacertilian

    Gonna try and check this one out soon based on this review alone!
    Good shit Fishbro.