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Dixie Witch : Smoke & Mirrors

The last time I saw Dixie Witch they were playing to a packed room of inebriated stoner/doom fanatics, and the group had them in the palm of their sweaty hands. When their set was over, I looked to my right at a complete stranger who had a grin big enough to kill a clown. Both of us blurted out something like "Now THAT'S what music is all about!" simultaneously, then fell out laughing at our own goofy wisdom. Funny thing was, we were right.

It's no secret that Dixie Witch excel on stage to a ridiculous extreme. They bludgeon with finesse and destroy with style, building a roaring wall of blues-based road metal firmly rooted south of the Mason-Dixon Line, enhanced by top-flight playing ability and excellent songwriting. As with most bands that sound their best on stage, their CDs have thus far been pale shadows of that hallowed live presence, although they serve well enough as bait to get folks out to the clubs. I won't say 'Smoke & Mirrors' solves all that, but it comes closer than any of their previous efforts, which is a very good thing indeed.

Blessed with a stable line-up over the past six years, the group has honed their skills with seemingly endless touring, until their instrumental abilities gleam like wet chrome and their ensemble playing is airtight. 'Set the Speed' is an instant 'Witch classic, a riffin' headbanger deluxe with lyrics romanticizing the freedom of the road, a lyrical arena which Nebula staked out many moons ago, and one they'll now have to share with these Austin, Texas road dogs. 'Cause Dixie Witch walk it like they talk it, capiche? They know from roadside rest stops and broken down vans. 'Ballinger Cross' is one of their best songs ever, a towering, beautiful edifice of heavy blues metal, while 'Thursday' sucker punches you with some heavy BTO. vibing. Dixie Witch may be punching and jabbing, but don't let 'em scare you away before the final 'Last Call,' a long, bluesy instro that would make a most effective show closer.

Yeah, they can sound a little generic at times, but there's precious little of that on 'Smoke & Mirrors'. If you want to hear a Southern road metal band at the top of it's game, then plunk down the necessary for this bad boy. It'll hold you until their next live gig at a club near you. I'll see you there, right?

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Set the Speed
2. Shoot the Moon
3. S.O.L.
4. Out in the Cold
5. Ballinger Cross
6. Getaway
7. Bridges
8. What You Want
9. Thursday
10. Gunfight
11. Last Call

Duration : Approx. 44 minutes

Visit the Dixie Witch bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Kevin McHugh
No God Only Pain
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