There’s a lot going on with All of Them Witches’ new album Hunters Moon. It’s the second LP from the act in the last year — although, yes, technically, Coven was released on cassette back in 2016. It’s from man behind Burning Witches, Gary Dimes, and marks the fifth release from the Kent, England label in less than four months. The track titles nod to all kinds of interesting cinematic in-jokes, and it seems as though it’s a soundtrack for an unmade film, as well. As to what kind of film that might be, who knows?
It’s a tough nut to crack, Hunters Moon. Part of me wants to play “spot the influences,” but while the press for the record readily admits that the LP consists of “musical motifs and Gothic melodies that wouldn’t be out of place in stories told by Argento, Romero, Coscarelli, and Carpenter,” tying any single track to one composer or influence would be fruitless.
Elements of science fiction scores sit side-by-side with those of horror and action, if not overlaid on one another, such as the sinister “Hele Bay.” And the opening track, “Copper Bones,” is maybe the most pretty piece of music to come out of this electronic soundtrack-influenced revival of recent years. It’s gorgeous and sunny and the glow of the track is almost antithetical to what you’d expect from a musical project called All of Them Witches, but the glow that comes from the song only helps to make everything which follows that much darker and macabre.
When you flip the record, “Chattox” comes right out of the gate with this mad, Blade Runner-sounding chord — straight from the Vangelis playbook — and ties in nicely with the symphonic aspects of “The Arrival,” which closes out the first side. Honestly, the more I listen to the album — despite the album artwork, despite the title, and despite the fact that it’s by an act named All of Them Witches, I really want to say that it’s the score to a weird sci-fi movie.
Then, of course, something like “Triple Stones” —which is all dark steps and rhythms overlaid with sinister layers of synth — comes right after “Chattox,” and I’m back to wondering if I’ve pegged it all wrong. This is all a very roundabout way of saying that Hunters Moon is fascinating and dark and still quite beautiful in its own menacing way. “The Otherworld” and “Blue Harvest” even manage to bridge both the ominous and alluring into something which is beguiling in a new and unique way.
For those wanting to explore the music further, the download card enclosed with the record allows access to five remixes of songs from the album, including two of “The Otherworld.” It’s a lot to take in, if you want to allow yourself to really fixate upon the record, but even those who choose to simply throw it on and listen to the music will find themselves beyond smitten.
Hunters Moon sounds amazing. It’s a little crackly here and there, but it’s minimal. The higher, more delicate aspects of the music frequently come into play with the sonorous parts of the outfit’s music, but the interplay never cedes control to either aspect, keeping them in graceful balance.
The packaging is rather unique. The jacket is essentially a disco sleeve, albeit printed, and the a-side label is printed with a moon to fit into the cover’s circular die-cut. Wish the inner sleeve were black instead of white, because it slightly mars the aesthetic, being as how you can’t quite get everything centered in order to avoid the white peeking through. It’s still clever as anything, and the addition of an art print allows you to cover it up, if it messes with your more obsessive organizing tendencies. The orange vinyl looks amazing, and our copy even had hints of black smoke through part of it, which made it pop even further.
Hunters Moon is available on vinyl from Burning Witches.