Mindkult‘s debut EP Witch’s Oath is a four track doom rocker that brings to mind Alice In Chains’ darker and emotional salad days as much as it does the broad stable of artists residing on Riding Easy Records. True, that’s a mouthful and big shoes to fill but Mindkult is more than up to it with this dark, moody collection of songs. Just one listen to these 24 plus minutes and two words come to mind; fantastic and mesmerizing.
Mindkult is a solo project from a man that goes by Fowst. Written and recorded completely in his hands this EP is a wealth of emotive atmosphere, riffs aplenty, a heavy blues feel and some rather fascinating vocals. Even though there’s plenty of artists — that on paper — appear to be of the same ilk, this one is simply a cut above. There’s a certain vulnerability and immediate recognizability in a song such as Mad Season’s “River Of Deceit” — the combination of beautifully sung vocals and heartfelt guitar chords here hit that same mark. It’s bliss and lightning in a bottle all at the same time. Not to mention the fantastic songwriting that shows itself early in opener “King and Priest”, a doomy plod with grunge rock painted all over the walls. Fowst successfully plays with tension and release but favors the former here, building long and slow to the huge payoff at songs center. But it’s his vocals that really hit the sweet spot and elevate this whole affair to another level entirely.
“Serpent’s Nest” is simply some of the best doom leaning desert rock these ears have heard in many years. It’s an expansive listen heavy on recurring riffs and echoed vocals. Fowst has that extremely unique ability to keep you hanging on every word, not wanting each track to end. The highlight here, but not by a large margin, is “Chief Of Devils”. These syrupy blues and soulful yet dark vocals sound like something King Dude, Layne Staley and Black Sabbath cooked up in some candlelit green room in hell. It’s an ensemble of slow burn doom/blues that all tug on that part of the brain needing a fix of something soulful and evil.
Truly, enough good words cannot be said about Mindkult’s maiden EP Witch’s Oath. From doom to stoner, and even a touch of alternative, Fowst, by himself is compelling. But as a complete package Mindkult hits all the right notes and provides us with a glimpse into what will hopefully be a sooner rather than later full length. For now, this EP is a satisfying and very addictive first chance to experience this band on the ground floor. Caligari Records have hit another home run and has found yet another artist absolutely worth your time to check out.
– Josh Stewart
Witch’s Oath is available now on digital format via the band’s Bandcamp page and will be available on physical format August 19 on Caligari Records. For more information on Mindkult visit the band’s Facebook page.