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Witch Mountain
Witch Mountain
Background information
Origin Portland, Oregon, USA
Genres Doom Metal
Years active 1997 - 2003, 2005 - Present
Labels Rage of Achilles, Mountastic, Profound Lore, Svart
Associated acts The Skull, Sunn O))), M-99, Iommi Stubbs, Dress The Dead, Lamprey, Coma Void, Aranya, Olympus Mons, Stalking Jane, Billions and Billions, Tiny Lady, Blackwitch Pudding, Point Line Plane, Two Ton Boa
Website Witch Mountain Facebook

Witch Mountain are a doom metal band based out of Portland, Oregon. Forming in 1997, this quartet (At one point a power trio) perform doom with elements of hard rock, blues and soul. Initially performing as a traditional doom band in their first run the band's sound shifted once they attained a new vocalist in Uta Plotkin. The band released three critically acclaimed albums and toured the United States and Europe, followed by an eponymous fifth album with new vocalist Kayla Dixon, who joined in 2015 after Plotkin's departure. Both vocalists are known for their exceptional vocal range from soaring highs to snarling lows.

Witch Mountain are notably the first doom metal band from Portland, Oregon and the state's longest-standing.[1] Over a career spanning nearly twenty-five years, Witch Mountain have released five studio albums amid a host of other releases.

HistoryEdit

Witch Mountain's First Run and Come The Mountain (1997 - 2003)Edit

Witch Mountain formed in July 1997 after Wrong's previous band, Iommi Stubbs, had fallen apart due to internal issues.[2] with the founding lineup of Rob Wrong, Nathan Carson and Preston Reyes. Early on, starting around late 1999, the band managed to play local shows in the Portland area alongside the likes of Village Idiot, Bottom, Acid King, High on Fire, Eyehategod, Goatsnake and Bongzilla among many others.[3][4] Following several bassists before settling on Kip Larson, the trio would release their debut EP Homegrown Doom on 17 September 2000, with a release party the same day at Pine Street (With Eyehategod).[5] Homegrown Doom saw praise from several publications such as High Beam Zine (Australia), Daredevil Zine (Germany) and Psychedelic Fanzine (Hungary) among others.[6] By the summer of 2000 the lineup would change, with Kip Larson leaving and two members joining in his place: Bassist Dave Hoopaugh and second guitarist Johnny Belluzzi.

Recording would take place at Smegma Studio circa August 2000 while mixing and mastering would take place through the fall of that year. Working again with Rage of Achilles, Witch Mountain would release their debut album Come The Mountain on 28 May 2001[7] to critical praise and a tour sponsored by Stonerrock.com, which included an appearance at the second edition of Emissions from the Monolith along with shows sharing the stage with the likes of Cuda, Weedeater and Bongzilla among others. Following a second North American tour surrounding an appearance at Stoner Hands of Doom, work would begin on a follow-up record while performing sporadic local shows, sharing the stage with Yob, Orange Goblin, Alabama Thunderpussy and Electric Wizard to name a few.[8] 2002 would see more shows and a return to Stoner Hands of Doom, this time as support to a touring Eternal Elysium. Further shows going into 2003 saw the band performing with The Whip,[9] SubArachnoid Space, Unida and Dixie Witch[10] However by early July the band would go on hiatus due to family reasons.

Ula Plotkin and South of Salem (2005 - 2011)Edit

Witch Mountain would re-form around 2005 with the lineup of Wrong, Carson and Hoopaugh as a power trio, with their first gig back supporting Yob (Coincidentally would be Yob's final show until their reformation in 2008.) and Totimoshi that year.[11] However through the middle of the 2000s Witch Mountain only played the occasional gig. However on 1 July 2009 at Satyricon in Portland, Witch Mountain would support the likes of Danava, Pentagram and Nachtmystium.[12] Notably a vocal guest would appear in one Uta Plotkin for the last song of their set. On 27 August 2009, Witch Mountain would support Jucifer with Plotkin singing for the whole set, officially adding her as the new vocalist.[13]

In an interview with Invisible Oranges, Rob Wrong explains how the band re-formed and what led to Uta joining the band:

"Well, Uta came in a lot later. I sang for the first 12 years of Witch Mountain. Essentially, I went back and forth with Iommi Stubbs over the years, and juggled both bands. I was married at the time and I had a couple of kids. I kind of slowed down for three years, between 2002 and 2005. Then, my marriage was crumbling and I was like ‘OK, I need to do something that makes me happy.’ So I started playing with Nate again. We’d always had this desire to get a singer. I never sang because I wanted to sing; I always wanted to play guitar. I sang out of necessity.

Uta was interning at Nathan’s booking agency, Nanotear. He went to see her other band Aranya play, and the next day he phoned me up said I really needed to see this girl sing. We had a show lined up with Pentagram in the summer of 2009, and we asked her if she would learn one of our songs and just sing at the end of the set. She did, and she fucking killed it. It almost brought me to my knees in tears on stage.

The next day, I was talking to Nate, and we had this show lined up with Jucifer, who was one of Uta’s favourite bands, and we bribed her basically – we told her, “Hey, how about trying out our whole set and learning all of our music?” So she learned all of the stuff that I had written, because I’d written all the music and lyrics at that point, and we recorded South of Salem after that. She was in.

Then, the last album we recorded a year ago, Cauldron of the Wild, she actually got to do her own melody lines and vocal parts and harmonies, and write her own lyrics. So it’s loads different than the album before it. We’ve got a good thing going now and it’s really easy for us to write music."

 
— Rob Wrong, Invisible Oranges[14]

Witch Mountain would begin writing and recording a new album in January 2010 at Smegma Studios, recording 100% analog and working with engineers Billy Anderson and Mell Dettmer.[15] A re-recorded version of "Iron Long" would be released digitally that summer as an introduction to Uta in the band and a tease for the next album. Nearly a decade after the first album's release, South of Salem would be self-released on Mountastic Records circa 9 April 2011. South of Salem attained significant critical praise from several publications such as Invisible Oranges,[16] Metal Reviews,[17] Metal Kaoz[18] and Your Last Rites[19] among others. South of Salem also reached #4 on NPR's Best Metal Albums of 2011.[20] Witch Mountain would perform several shows in the Portland area before embarking on their first US tour in nearly a decade, alongside Premonition 13. In November 2011 it would be announced that Witch Mountain had signed with Profound Lore Records.

Cauldron of The Wild and Mobile of Angels (2012 - 2015)Edit

On 17 February 2012 Witch Mountain would host a release party for the Profound Lore edition of South of Salem with Sons of Huns and Bison Bison.[21] Following that performance, Dave Hoopaugh parted with the band to concentrate on family and other projects, leaving bass duties to Neal Munson (Billions and Billions). The band had also recorded a new album, working at Audible Alchemy Studios with Anderson and Dettmer. While the majority of the songs on South of Salem were written by Rob Wrong, the follow-up had writing contributions from the whole band, and Wrong more free in his guitar playing and writing.[22]

Cauldron of The Wild was released via Profound Lore Records on 12 June 2012 to critical acclaim from the likes of The Obelisk,[23] Pitchfork,[24] Your Last Rites[25] and Exclaim![26] among others. Witch Mountain would tour extensively through 2012 in support of Cauldron of The Wild, first a tour surrounding an appearance at Scion Rock Fest with Lord Dying and then a Fall tour with Castle. A 7" Single entitled Bloodhound saw release via Scion A/V on 16 October 2012.

2013 would see Witch Mountain tour with Cough for what would be their first European tour, including appearances at Roadburn Festival, DesertFest Berlin and Desertfest London.[27] Following the tour and a string of shows Munson would leave with Charles Thomas taking over. The band would take a break from touring to write their fourth album, ultimately recording at Type Foundry and Everything HZ Studios with Billy Anderson in May 2014, followed by a tour of Europe alongside Tombstones. Mobile of Angels would be released via Profound Lore Records and Svart Records on 30 September 2014 to critical praise from the likes of Pitchfork,[28] The Obelisk,[29] Metal Injection,[30] Echoes and Dust[31] and Treble Zine[32] to name a few. However around the same time of the album's announcement on 7 August 2014 it would be announced that Uta Plotkin would be leaving Witch Mountain after the release of Mobile of Angels and a tour supporting Nik Turner, "new projects, musical and otherwise". The departure would be amicable.[33]

In an interview with Decibel Magazine, Plotkin would explain her decision to leave the band:

"I’ve been feeling restless for about a year. I joined Witch Mountain in 2009 looking for a learning experience and just experience in general. I had started my band, Aranya a year earlier and was new to the scene and new to running a band. I worked fanatically those first few years, but as I passed out of my twenties and into my thirties, I found my priorities changing and my inner vision shifting from something ecstatic and all-encompassing to something more personal. With three albums behind me in Witch Mountain, I feel I’ve accomplished what I needed to here and as it’s taking up more of my time, it’s harder to justify neglecting other parts of my life and creativity.

Of course, this was a difficult decision that kept me up nights. I’m making big changes in my life and that’s never easy or comfortable. Luckily my bandmates took the news with maturity and understanding.

[On working with Witch Mountain] Writing and recording with Witch Mountain has been a special treat. Rob and I write well together and recording with Billy Anderson demonstrated to me what a good producer can do to take your music to the next level. Being in Witch Mountain made me a better and more confident performer. As far as touring, getting to see more of the world through the lens of underground music was something I’d dreamed of for a long time. But the pace and intensity often overwhelm me. The attention too, despite being mostly positive, makes me uncomfortable, which doesn’t bode well for me as we gain in popularity. I’m a private person and the internet is not for private people. Over the last few years too, I’ve been turned off by the business of music, its falsity, its cynicism, its shameless, empty bragging and how it makes some people treat and talk about others. But I’ve met too many positive and inspiring people in music to let that get me down for long."

 
— Uta Plotkin, Decibel Magazine[34]

In an interview with The Obelisk, Nathan Carson speaks about touring and Uta's departure:

"We’d had inklings for a while, but it was after the European tour she let us know. She called Rob and I separately and let us know, and I think Rob was a bit more upset about it than I was, because I just feel very pragmatic about these things. If somebody is not happy doing what they’re doing, then I don’t want them there. I don’t want to talk anyone into being part of my art project. We are doing some really amazing work together, and if that’s fulfilling to you, that’s wonderful, and if not, then you need to do what makes you happy.

It was June, so basically July she let us know. Luckily, she’s a pro and a good person and wanted to fulfill our tour obligations for the year, which was the Nik Turner tour, so she said, “That’s gonna be my last trip with you guys and this is my last record,” and I said, “That’s awesome, thank you for your great work and I’m really stoked that we have this trilogy of albums and this legacy we’ve built.” She’s leaving when the band’s on this very high note, so in a way I think it’s timed out really nicely. We’ll do the tour and now the record’s out there, working for us while we rebuild a new lineup. The record’s sort of touring itself now."

 
— Nathan Carson, The Obelisk[35]

Kayla Dixon Joins and Self-Titled Album (2015 - Present)Edit

Witch Mountain would host auditions to find a new singer following Plotkin's departure and three months later, find a new singer in Kayla Dixon. Dixon, who was nineteen at the time and having performed in a wide variety of music from theater to jazz to an Ohio-based groove metal band in Demons Within, got the vocal role after a video audition. Dixon's first contribution tot he band would be a cover of "Sleeping Village" for a Black Sabbath tribute compilation. Following the recording Dixon would moveo to Oregon and sometime after the band would hire a new bassist in Justin Brown (Lamprey). After the first few rehearsals the band would record The band's first tour with this new lineup would be alongside Yob plus select dates with Enslaved and Ecstatic Vision.[36][37] After the initial tour the band would tour again in the Fall supporting Veil of Maya, Superjoint, Prong and Danzig.

2016 would see the band recording a new EP in Burn You Down, which also featured a re-recorded version of "Hare's Stare". The band would make an appearance at Psycho Las Vegas, followed by a North American tour with The Skull (Whom Rob Wrong also played in at the time.) and Saint Vitus. 2017 would see the band take some time off to write a new album except a handful of live appearances.The band would record this new album in May 2016 and May 2017 at Hallowed Halls in Portland, Oregon with Billy Anderson. A single for the song Midnight would be released via Adult Swim Singles on 1 November 2017.

The eponymous Witch Mountain was released via Svart Records on 25 May 2018 to positive reviews from the likes of The Obelisk,[38] Metal Assault,[39] Rezonatr,[40] Cryptic Rock,[41] Sputnik Music[42] and The Sludgelord[43] among others. Witch Mountain would tour North America extensively in 2018 and 2019 in support of the self-titled record. The band would reveal a new song in Priceless Pain on 20 September 2019 and, on 27 February 2020, announce a North American tour surrounding their appearance at The Maryland Doom Fest, along with a planned European tour and new material in the works.[44]

DiscographyEdit

Studio AlbumsEdit

  • Come The Mountain (2001, Rage of Achilles)
  • South of Salem (2011, Mountastic; 2012 Profound Lore)
  • Cauldron of The Wild (2012, Profound Lore)
  • Mobile of Angels (2014, Profound Lore)
  • Witch Mountain (2018, Svart)

Other ReleasesEdit

  • Homegrown Doom (EP) (2000, Rage of Achilles)
  • Iron Long 2010 (Single) (2010, Mountastic)
  • Witch Mountain EP (EP) (2012, Scion A/V)
  • Burn You Down (EP) (2016, Mountastic)
  • Midnight (Single) (2018, Williams Street/Adult Swim Singles)
  • Priceless Pain (Single) (2019, Self-Released)

MembersEdit

Current LineupEdit

  • Rob Wrong - Guitar, Vocals (1997 - 2003); Guitar (2005 - Present)
  • Nathan Carson - Drums (1997 - 2003, 2005 - Present)
  • Justin Brown - Bass (2015 - Present)
  • Kayla Dixon - Vocals (2015 - Present)

Past MembersEdit

  • Preston Reyes - Bass (1997)
  • Anthony "Big A" Hubik - Bass (1997 - 1998)
  • Rob Keith - Bass (1998 - 1999)
  • Kip Larson - Bass (1999 - 2000) (Died 2016)
  • Johnny Belluzzi - Rhythm Guitar (2000 - 2002)
  • Dave Hoopaugh - Bass (2000 - 2003, 2005 - 2012)
  • Erica Stoltz - Vocals (2002)
  • Uta Plotkin - Vocals (2009 - 2014)
  • Neal Munson - Bass (2012 - 2013)
  • Charles Thomas - Bass (2013 - 2014)
  • Joe Wickstrom - Live Bass (Unknown Time Period)

List of Known ToursEdit

External LinksEdit

Official LinksEdit

Archival LinksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Profound Lore Records Official
  2. Invisible Oranges
  3. Witch Mountain Official via Wayback Machine
  4. Witch Mountain Official via Wayback Machine
  5. Witch Mountain Official via Wayback Machine
  6. Witch Mountain Official via Wayback Machine
  7. Witch Mountain Official via Wayback Machine
  8. Witch Mountain Official via Wayback Machine
  9. Witch Mountain Official via Wayback Machine
  10. Witch Mountain Official via Wayback Machine
  11. The Obelisk
  12. Last.fm
  13. Last.fm
  14. Invisible OrangesInterview: Witch Mountain’s Rob Wrong accessed 2 March 2020
  15. NPR
  16. Invisible Oranges
  17. Metal Reviews
  18. Metal Kaoz
  19. Your Last Rites
  20. NPR
  21. Last.fm
  22. Oregon Live
  23. The Obelisk
  24. Pitchfork
  25. Your Last Rites
  26. Exclaim!
  27. Last.fm
  28. Pitchfork
  29. The Obelisk
  30. Metal Injection
  31. Echoes and Dust
  32. Treble Zine
  33. The Obelisk
  34. Decibel MagazineWitch Mountain: An Outgoing Debrief with Uta Plotkin accessed 2 March 2020
  35. The ObeliskWitch Mountain Interview with Nathan Carson: The Shape Truth Takes accessed 2 March 2020
  36. Vice
  37. The Obelisk
  38. The Obelisk
  39. Metal Assault
  40. Rezonatr
  41. Cryptic Rock
  42. Sputnik Music
  43. The Sludgelord
  44. The Obelisk
  45. Witch Mountain Official via Wayback Machine
  46. Witch Mountain Official via Wayback Machine
  47. Witch Mountain Official via Wayback Machine
  48. Witch Mountain Official via Wayback Machine
  49. Witch Mountain Facebook
  50. Last.fm
  51. Witch Mountain Facebook
  52. Witch Mountain Facebook
  53. Last.fm
  54. Witch Mountain Facebook
  55. Last.fm
  56. Witch Mountain Facebook
  57. Witch Mountain Facebook
  58. Witch Mountain Facebook
  59. Last.fm
  60. Witch Mountain Facebook
  61. Witch Mountain Facebook
  62. Witch Mountain Facebook
  63. Witch Mountain Facebook
  64. Witch Mountain Facebook
  65. Witch Mountain Facebook
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