Tainted Love: An Observation of Witch Taint

The great Greek philosopher Pythagoras theorized that celestial bodies, the planets and the stars, were able to compose and perform music of their own volition. The theory was that through metaphysical beliefs and Earth’s physical proximity to the known universe, this poetic order inspired by the divine was capable of sending the music of the spheres straight into our collective consciousness.

There have been few artists in the past century who seemed to possess the rare ability to fly to those ethereal heights where their talent transformed them into the very heavenly marvels that Pythagoras spoke of. Truth be told, I can only think of ten:

  • Stevie Wonder
  • Johnny Cash
  • Sam Cooke
  • Bob Dylan
  • Chuck Berry
  • Little Richard
  • Freddie Mercury
  • Prince
  • Lennon & McCartney
  • Witch Taint

What is that you say? You’ve never heard of Witch Taint? The legendary black metal band who revel so mightily in their pitch-black metalness that other black metal metal-heads cower in fear at the sudden swell of inferiority knowing full well that the meager black metal hellfire they are barely able to conjure could never compare to the unbridled evilness and most metallic furiousness of the Taint?

Okay, wait a minute. Perhaps I should reign this in and explain.

Here’s the deal. Witch Taint is actually a real band that play catchy, hook-drenched full-throttle metal. The main men of Witch Taint, Lance the King of Black Metal and Matthias Backwards, are real musicians. However, their actual names are Dave Hill and Phil Costello and their main gig is comedy. So you can kind of see what’s going on here. And honestly? It’s fucking glorious.

Music genres are a tough thing to parody, because the dirty little secret is that you actually have to admire it. When Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, and Christopher Guest made This Is Spinal Tap, they were able to slip in and out of their portrayals without a modicum of difficulty because they were poking fun at something they kinda dug. They weren’t getting caught up in the bitterness and bile that could potentially drain the ear-splattering fun right out of it.

That seems to be the case here. On their latest album Sons of Midwestern Darkness, the band revels in the cartoon imagery of Black Metal while retaining the energy and adding a little, heaven forbid, actual melody. With song titles like “Sons of Satan,” “Viking Heaven,” and the emotional (and perhaps autobiographical?) “The Taint of the Witch,” the Taint lads aren’t really looking to make any converts to their cause. They’re simply expressing a deeper part of their psyche that was probably born when someone hit them on the back of the head with a two-by-four in a bar fight that started with the proprietor over why there were no Venom songs on the soundtrack. Sure, that’s a scenario that I completely fabricated, but these guys are from the mean streets of Gary, Indiana, so anything is possible.

If bands like Ghost take stellar songwriting and add a touch of humor, their spooky bros in Witch Taint just drench everything in the laugh juice. What they’re doing is hardly original, but what sets this particular band apart is that the one joke they are telling, they are telling exceptionally well. And like their Stonehenge-loving Spinal Tap compatriots, they aren’t trying to hide anything, so when you listen to the record, you can be a Witch Taint fan whether or not you actually enjoy the music. You can play along, right? If the men behind Lance the King of Black Metal and Matthias Backwards are having a blast pretending to be the most nefarious Black Metal band in the world, then you can have a blast pretending to be the most nefarious fans of the most nefarious Black Metal band in the world. Everybody wins!

Beyond the music, which is a hard rock maelstrom of dopey lyrics and, I can’t believe I’m saying this, tuneful goodness, you can’t help but cheer on a band that enthuses “Happy Pride!” on their Facebook page and has an exclusive t-shirt for sale where all profits go to Black Visions Collective. How can a band with a reputation so insidious and so terribly nasty be this socially conscious? Maybe, just maybe, the answer can be found in these lyrics from their song “Changes.”

I was just like you, consumed with matters of darkness / Now I have a family and a very, very nice apartment / No one can go through life being so grim and extreme / Just try to apply for a mortgage and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m not crying, dear readers. You are.

Find Witch Taint’s music, merchandise (including official Witch Taint – Taint Sauce!) and more, here: https://witchtaint.com
https://www.facebook.com/WitchTaint/
https://twitter.com/witchtaint

May the Taint be with you. Always. | Jim Ousley

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