Burning Witch

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Burning Witch
Origin Seattle, Washington, United States
Genres Doom metal, sludge metal, drone metal
Years active 1995–1998
Labels Southern Lord, Hydra Head, Slap-a-Ham, Merciless Records
Associated acts Thorr's Hammer, Goatsnake, Sunn O))), Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine, Asva
Past members Stephen O'Malley
Greg Anderson
George Stuart Dahlquist
Edgy 59
Jamie Sykes

Burning Witch was an American doom metal band from Seattle, Washington, active between 1995 and 1998. Aside from EPs and split releases, the band released a compilation album called Crippled Lucifer , which had songs of their early EPs.

Doom metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music that typically uses slower tempos, low-tuned guitars and a much "thicker" or "heavier" sound than other heavy metal genres. Both the music and the lyrics intend to evoke a sense of despair, dread, and impending doom. The genre is strongly influenced by the early work of Black Sabbath, who formed a prototype for doom metal with songs such as "Black Sabbath", "Children of the Grave", "Electric Funeral" and "Into the Void". During the first half of the 1980s, a number of bands from England, the United States and Sweden defined doom metal as a distinct genre.

Seattle City in Washington, United States

Seattle is a seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the seat of King County, Washington. With an estimated 730,000 residents as of 2018, Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. According to U.S. Census data released in 2018, the Seattle metropolitan area’s population stands at 3.87 million, and ranks as the 15th largest in the United States. In July 2013, it was the fastest-growing major city in the United States and remained in the Top 5 in May 2015 with an annual growth rate of 2.1%. In July 2016, Seattle was again the fastest-growing major U.S. city, with a 3.1% annual growth rate. Seattle is the northernmost large city in the United States.

<i>Crippled Lucifer</i> 1998 studio album by Burning Witch

Crippled Lucifer is the only album by Burning Witch which is a compilation album of EP tracks. Its complete title is Crippled Lucifer .



Burning Witch formed on Capitol Hill, Seattle in early 1995. After the breakup of the doom/death band Thorr's Hammer in 1995, Stephen O'Malley, Greg Anderson and Jamie Sykes formed Burning Witch. The band then added G. Stuart Dahlquist and vocalist Edgy 59, rounding out their lineup. Anderson left the band before they had recorded any real Burning Witch songs to start the band Goatsnake.

Thorrs Hammer

Thorr's Hammer was an American-Norwegian death-doom band.

Stephen OMalley American musician

Stephen O'Malley is a guitarist, producer, composer, and visual artist from Seattle, Washington who has conceptualized and participated in numerous drone doom, death/doom, and experimental music groups, most notably Sunn O))).

Goatsnake American doom metal band

Goatsnake is an American doom metal band from Los Angeles, California. They have released three studio albums, the first being 1999's Goatsnake Vol. 1.

In 1996, the band in this incarnation recorded songs with renowned indie producer Steve Albini, which would become the Towers... EP. This collection would actually not see a formal release until 1998 on Slap A Ham Records. After the sessions for these songs, Sykes left the band and was replaced by B.R.A.D.

Steve Albini American record engineer and rock musician

Steven Albini is an American musician, record producer, audio engineer and music journalist. He was a member of Big Black, Rapeman and Flour, and is a member of Shellac. He is the founder, owner and principal engineer of Electrical Audio, a recording studio complex in Chicago. In 2018, Albini estimated that he had worked on several thousand albums during his career. He has had major influence on the development of genres such as noise rock, post-hardcore and math rock.

<i>Towers...</i> extended play

Towers... is the debut EP by the band Burning Witch. It was recorded by renowned indie producer Steve Albini. It was available as a part of the compilation album Crippled Lucifer which is now out of print, but has since been re-released as a 2 disc set Crippled Lucifer , through Southern Lord Records.

The sessions that followed the Albini recordings resulted in the Rift.Canyon.Dreams EP, which would prove to be the final recordings by the band, as they broke up soon after the disc was completed. It was released on Merciless Records, but like its predecessor, did not receive much attention outside its scene. [1]

<i>Rift.Canyon.Dreams</i> extended play

Rift.Canyon.Dreams is the second EP by the U.S. doom metal band Burning Witch. It was originally released in 1998 on Merciless Records, to a limited distribution of 500 copies. It is available on the compilation Crippled Lucifer , through Southern Lord Records.


Crippled Lucifer , a compilation CD of the two EPs, was released soon after on Southern Lord Records, the label founded by Anderson and O'Malley. Burning Witch performed their last shows in the fall of 1998 after which Edgy 59 left for Sinisstar, O'Malley reunited with Anderson to form Sunn O))), and Dahlquist joined Anderson in Goatsnake. Currently, O'Malley is in various projects including Sunn O))). Dahlquist and B.R.A.D are in Asva, and Edgy 59 has a project also with G. Stuart Dahlquist called The Poisoned Glass.

Southern Lord is an American heavy metal record label that was founded in 1998 by Greg Anderson. Initially, Southern Lord specialized in what could broadly be classified as experimental metal, particularly the slow-moving doom metal, stoner rock, and drone metal subgenres. Some of the more notable artists on the label include Baptists, Earth, Om, Goatsnake, Khanate, Obliterations, Pelican, Sleep and Sunn O))), among others. More recently, the label expanded its line-up to include artists from the black metal subgenre, including releases by Twilight, Wolves in the Throne Room, Xasthur, and Striborg. They have also released albums by hardcore punk and crust punk bands like Burning Love, Agrimonia, and Wolfbrigade.

Sunn O))) American band

Sunn O))) is an American experimental metal band from Seattle, Washington, that formed in 1998. The band is known for an extremely heavy sound that blends diverse genres including drone, black metal, dark ambient, and noise rock, and for very loud live performances. Supported by a varying cast of collaborators, the band was formed by two core members: Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson.


Most of the music of Burning Witch is very slow and heavy with the drums slowly plodding along with the bass and guitar playing minimalist riffs. Emphasis is usually put on spaces between notes, allowing the bass and guitar to resonate before proceeding to the next note. There are occasional bursts of feedback and noise from O'Malley, but for the most part the guitar and bass follow each other. One of the qualities of Burning Witch is Edgy 59's vocals which alter between a nasal and melodic singing voice to a brutal, tortured, and demented scream or shriek.

There are noticeable differences between the songs on Towers... and Rift. Canyon.Dreams with Towers... being more intense and aggressive and Rift.Canyon.Dreams being more morose and brooding.

The Crippled Lucifer compilation contains all but one song from their two LPs. Goatsnake/Burning Witch split contains two songs, one from each of the LP recording sessions (and the one omitted from Crippled Lucifer ), and the Asva / Burning Witch split contains the song "Rift. Canyon.Dreams".

A lot of terms have been used to describe Burning Witch's highly untraditional sound. Among these are "suicide doom", "transdimensional drone doom", "true blackened doom", and "molasses sludge". Stephen O'Malley has said these descriptions are "ridiculous", insisting Burning Witch is just slow and heavy doom with unique vocals. There is a natural progression in the sound of Burning Witch to the pair's later project Sunn O))), especially on Black One . Comparisons can also be made to O'Malley's later project Khanate.


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