METHWITCH: INDWELL (REVIEW)
Updated: Apr 21
Methwitch - INDWELL (2020) Reviewed By Maxwell Heilman
Some musicians pour all of their artistry into one project, but Cameron McBride prefers to compartmentalize. He has Bleach Wave for ‘90s sad boy rock, (B)RID3 for contemporary pop, Voidgasm for old school death metal, TWELVExTITANS for heavy hardcore… and then, there’s METHWITCH. The darkest, craziest machinations of McBride’s musical mind manifest in this project’s barrage of malicious brutality. From inhuman vocals to demented riffs, Methwitch’s track record of demonic savagery speaks for itself. Methwitch has always been McBride’s vehicle for pushing the limits of extreme metal, which this newest record takes to an entirely new level. Indwell is the sound of a man carving out his own niche of uncompromising, confrontational expression. If 2017’s Piss started to alienate listeners, Indwell might as well be a declaration of war on everything and everyone.
The discordant noisiness of intro “Invoking Clauneck” immediately weeds out all but true connoisseurs of darkness. The chords recall raw black metal (Les Legiones Noires style, baby!), while the production might bring Gnaw Their Tongues to mind. Basically, anything but what Slam Worldwide fans expect (more about SW later).
Even when the chugs and blast beats enter on “Uninvited Guests”, stabs of feedback and despondent screeches upend any semblance of normality. Mcbride spares no opportunity for atonality and unorthodox rhythm changes, and that’s without mentioning his affinity for what he calls “Dani Filth highs.” He sounds like a banshee possessed by the Dilophosour from Jurassic Park, spitting lyrical diatribes: “I have opened a door that cannot be shut/ My ignorance will bring forth my own suffering.” It’s less music for moshing, and more akin to complete dismentation in the bowels of hell. The increased chaos and sample usage works well with shorter, more grind-influenced numbers. The disembodied choir sample that bookends “Devil in the Corner” adds a surprising atmosphere to the song’s grating solo. Even during a track like “Crimson Halo,” which veers toward hardcore-ish groove at its midsection, Mcbride makes sure every note is sour in its own way.
The production itself is piercing and over-blown, made to elicit profound discomfort. The feedback laden foundation of cuts like “Sever” could easily be compared to power electronics or harsh noise. McBride still locks into punishing mosh parts where it counts, but he has pulled all the stops with regard to driving listeners into a fetal position.
The album’s three singles provide a bit more footholds within the sonic whirlwind. “Brimstone Heart” seamlessly transitions from mutated blackened grind to a horrific soundscape. McBride screeching “Slit your wrists/ Bleed the demons out” over the culminating breakdown is the perfect spine-chill, followed by iversating chugs and tremolo riffage.
Tastefully programmed drums become the glue for the maddening intensity. McBride’s unorthodox approach to groove manifests in “Burn Victim,” essentially becoming Ion Dissonance on amphetamines (that’s the only meth joke I’m making during this review, I promise). In fact, to call those contorted guitar noises “panic chords” feels disrespectful to how outlandish McBride gets with his effects. It starts feeling like all of chaotic metalcore walked to Methwitch could run. “Bed Full of Snakes” similarly supercharges Iowa-era Slipknot. The riffs are obviously from the nu-school, but also locked in a torture chamber with Anaal Nathrakh. The Slipknot influence actually carries over onto “Spiral” in the most unexpected way. That’s right, Slam Worldwide rejected this album due to clean singing. The song’s chorus recalls the Slipknot classic “My Plague,” adding unprecedented catchiness within the pandemonium. Don’t worry, the outro brings a cavalcade of musical dismemberment. The real game changers come as “Ashen'' and “They Stare Black,” giving more traditional songwriting to the Methwitch signature. The former track sees McBride his eerie choir samples and horrifying gutturals with an emotive chorus melody and even a solid guitar solo is a testament to his incredibly diverse musicianship. The latter throws yet another curve ball, as its oscillated piano and voice samples add up to a straight up industrial number. It might seem indulgent, because it is, but every turn this album takes remains a gear in an unstoppable, well-oiled machine.
While it plays like a voracious beatdown, Indwell is calculated, cold and lethal. Sitting with a track like “Teeth Like Nails,” reveals the intricacies that guide it from ultra-heavy breakdowns and brain melting noise-mongering. McBride knows exactly where to place each noise patch, or one of a myriad of vocal effects. His vocals are a complete anomaly, able to jump between the highest high, the most guttural lows and everything in between. The main difference this time around is the emotional quotient, which erupts to full blown hysteria at the end of “Indwell.” Think Corey Taylor at his most deranged, with a near-unlimited reservoir of animalistic belting. By the time “Hellslave” rolls around, McBride’s attention to detail has fully revealed itself. His balance of learching math-metal, crushing brutality and terrifying atmosphere only deepens with each layer of suffocating filth. It’s what gives 7-minute closer “Exhale (Last Breath),” such a lasting impact. Foreboding singing guides the emotional crescendo, but around every corner is some hideous rasps—not to mention the death industrial finish. And yet, you’re still head banging to the kick-ass riffs. When approached with an open mind, Methwitch provides a ride unlike anything else in heavy music. You can’t put a genre on Indwell, nore can you make heads or tales of how one person came up with all of these ideas. It just happens. If you’re a real one, you love it.