Chiaroscuro

Closet Witch

Female-fronted bands are becoming more popular in the Extreme Metal community by the day, and CLOSET WITCH is a perfect example of that.
February 23, 2024

Female-fronted bands are becoming more popular in the Extreme Metal community by the day, and CLOSET WITCH is a perfect example of that.  I couldn’t get much information about this band, except the fact that they are a Grindcore/Powerviolence band from Iowa.  “Chiaroscuro,” released on November 3rd of last year by Canadian record label Zegema Beach Records, is apparently the second album by the four-piece group.  I have been wanting to immerse myself in the Grindcore genre for quite some time now, so getting the opportunity to listen to and review CLOSET WITCH’s latest release was a great chance to do just that.  So let me tell you why I am glad that I listened to this album.

 

To start off, “Chiaroscuro” is about 18 minutes long, so it won’t take much out of a person’s daily schedule to listen to this.  The first track “Intro” is an eerie piece of synth and audio effects which come to a close with a few drum beats, before we get into the real stuff with the following track “Constantly Problematic.”  Mollie Piatetsky’s vocals completely blew me away, with incomprehensible yet intense shouts and high-pitched shrieks, which gave the music a hardcore punk vibe as well.  Throughout the short 50 seconds of this song, Royce Kurth relentlessly uses the blast beat method on his drums, while the guitars and bass Alex Crist and Cory Peak grind in the background.  CLOSET WITCH uses an almost simultaneous style and pace in the next couple of tracks “Haunting” and “and Releasing.”  “and Releasing” actually features an additional vocalist: Frank Furillo, whose lower-pitched shrieks layer very well with Mollie’s high-pitched ones.  “My Words are Sacred” features another artist named Dylan Walker, who uses guttural growls in the background of the high-speed, grinding instruments.  I also noticed that Royce Kurth doesn’t use as many blast beats as he did on the previous songs.  “Infinite Imbalance” is played for almost 1 ½ minutes at an exceptionally blistering speed that will have any headbanger’s neck sore by the end of it. The next track “You, Me, and my Venus in Decay” maintains an overall mid-tempo pace but still has its faster moments in between, and the band brings in another growling vocalist by the name of Dan Lee.  As Alex Crist’s guitar riff winds down at the end, it immediately leads into “Outro.”  Despite the name, CLOSET WITCH is far from done on “Chiaroscuro,” which they prove on another blistering song titled “Arlington Cemetery.”  The band then briefly returns to the short, intense tempos they displayed earlier with the next song “Well Fed Machine,” before taking it down a notch on “We Met on Park Boundary Trail.”  “Funeral Flowers” repeats the same style of “Well Fed Machine,” which may make things a bit monotonous by this time, but it doesn’t negate the group’s talent whatsoever.  The closing song “To the Cauldron” is also the longest with a duration of a little over 4 minutes.  It begins with the relentless funnel of blast beats, crushing guitar riffs and bass, and Piatetsky’s menacing shrieks and shouts.  For the next couple of minutes or so, the Grindcore band maintains a mid-tempo speed before giving us a synth/organ piece from Stu Cline for the final minute of “To the Cauldron.”  In my opinion, while the closing track wasn’t bad, the rather lengthy duration slightly threw the band off course.  

 

CLOSET WITCH delivered a really good piece of Grindcore/Powerviolence in the form of “Chiaroscuro.”  The heavily dissonant instruments and Mollie Piatetsky’s fantastic vocal delivery will leave you blistered before the 18 minutes are even up, but they will also leave you wanting more from the band.  The production quality may not be appeasing to everybody, but it gives the Grindcore music more of a harsher sound, so I will give CLOSET WITCH credit where credit is due.  If Grindcore is your thing or you want to get into the genre more like me, then “Chiaroscuro” might be up your alley.  Give it a listen and form your own opinion on the matter.

 

8 / 10

Excellent

Songwritting

8

Musicianship

9

Memorability

8

Production

8
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"Chiaroscuro" Track-listing:

1.  Intro

2.  Constantly Problematic

3.  Haunting

4.  and Releasing (feat. Frank Furillo)

5.  My Words are Sacred (feat. Dylan Walker)

6.  Infinite Imbalance (feat. Stu Cline)

7.  You, Me, and my Venus in Decay (feat. Dan Lee)

8.  Outro

9.  Arlington Cemetery 

10.  Well Fed Machine

11.  We Met On the Park Boundary Trail

12.  Funeral Flowers

13.  To the Cauldron (feat. Stu Cline)

 

Closet Witch Lineup:

Mollie Piatetsky – Vocals

Alex Crist – Guitars

Cory Peak – Bass

Royce Kurth – Drums

Stu Cline – Synth & Organs

 

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