To the majority of you, Wiht will be an unfamiliar name. But to those of you among the UK stoner/sludge/doom underground, the Leeds three-piece are a burgeoning force. Having had the pleasure of sharing a bill or two alongside them, I can vouch for their vast potential and incredible live performances that are starting to get them noticed. ‘The Harrowing of the North’.
‘The Harrowing of the North’ comprises only two tracks, but over a running time of roughly 33 minutes. It’s a concept EP, as the bands puts it:
“Taking influence thematically from the subjugation of the North of England by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, it tells the troubled history of doomsday-era Yorkshire- the king massacred it’s people and destroyed the land to ensure it held no economic or cultural worth and would remain under his subservient rule.”
The title track, which opens proceedings, weighs in at a hefty 20:46 on the clock, but isn’t weighed down by it at all. It takes a good three and a half minutes before there’s any sign of the drums, preceded by a tolling and ominous intro, but soon rolls into action with a storming riff. The song twists and turns through numerous different passages, ranging from thunderously heavy to psychedelic and even minimal. The S/T EP was good but this is a major step up, incorporating all kinds of influences and melding together for one satisfyingly heavy jam.
Track two, ‘Orderic Vitalis’, gets on the front foot a little quicker, a bass intro soon leading into a mighty big riff. It soon heads back to the prominent bass riff with some psychedelic guitar and ambience effects, and minimalistic drums. This continues on this route for some time, taking you on a journey through a chasmous place, eventually building back up at about the 4:25 mark. The riff that soon follows is huge, backed up by bass and thunderous drums. Psychedelia filters back in around six minutes in and there’s a huge astral riff around 6:50 to get your head around. The remainder of the song continues down this path, mixing heavy stoner rhythms and echoey guitars frequently as the song heads for the sky, fading to synth at the very end.
‘The Harrowing Of The North’ is a masterclass from start to finish, and despite the huge song lengths, it’s entirely attention-keeping throughout, thanks to plethora of ideas placed on show. Fans of bands such as Neurosis, ISIS, Pelican, etc. would be far worse off for not checking out this band. And as a pay-what-you-like download, you owe it to the band to go check them out and discover one of Yorkshire’s best-kept secrets – which surely won’t remain that way for too much longer.