REVIEW: Methwitch – Indwell [2020]

Artist: Methwitch

Album: Indwell

            Through Methwitch’s impressive—albeit brief—duration as a project, creative mastermind Cameron McBride has taken the listener on a dark tour of complicated, dense heavy music stylings. While the band’s first two offerings fit somewhat firmly as a smoldering, blackened, grisly subdivision of brutal death metal, Piss felt immensely more spastic and suffocating, taking hold of the listener like botulism, paralyzing them from the head downwards, totally disabling them. Now, mere days away from Indwell, listeners are forced to wonder—just what in the Hell has McBride cooked up this time?

            In short, it’s kind of like listening to what getting decapitated by a shotgun blast must feel like.

            Defined by everything from brawl-inducing riffs to carefully organized chaos to chaos that…well, doesn’t even feel organized that it’s so chaotic and more, Methwitch’s Indwell is one of the most dense, terrifying, aggressive and haunting releases to set foot into the heavy music arena, and while it most certainly isn’t for the faint of heart, it can’t be argued that there just isn’t anything as heavy—or even similar at all—to what McBride has crafted on Indwell.

            When I was trying to sell Methwitch to someone on Twitter the other day, they asked me what kind of music it was—the genre, style, similar artists, you get it. At the tail end of four years of medical school (which followed four years of biochemistry training), and, honestly I’m not sure if I’ve ever been asked a more difficult question to answer succinctly. Indwell sounds sort of like someone minced up Ion Dissonance’s Cursed, sprinkled in some The Irish Front, Cradle of Filth, Cryptopsy, Dark Throne and maybe…some Slipknot? The point is that Indwell blends elements of contemporary grindcore, technical death metal, mathcore, black metal—the list goes on—in a way that feels natural, and, of course, heavier than all Hell. From the eerie “Invoking Clauneck” to the spastic “Uninvited Guests” and “Burn Victim” through “Bed Full of Snakes” and the haunting closer “Exhale (Last Breath),” McBride’s instrumentation is (somehow) even more unpredictable and diverse than it was on Piss, while refining the flow and structure of songs throughout Indwell to make the record feel less disjointed and more fluid. “Burn Victim,” alongside “Crimson Halo” and the record’s title track feature some of the most straightforward elements throughout the near-hour of devastating, oppressive heaviness that is Indwell. Here, McBride’s ten-ton guitar tones blare over cannon-like percussion while being bolstered by gritty, grimy bass. Elsewhere—“Exhale (Last Breath)” for example—things feel much more atmospheric and sludgy, with drawling, droning leads soaring over spacy drum patterns and sparse—albeit thick—bass. Between these two extremes, songs like “Devil in the Corner” exist, channeling pure, distilled late-2000s-grindcore-meets-late-2000s-mathcore chaos or “Ashen,” a song that brilliantly blends heaviness and melancholy. While McBride does a profuse amount of sonic experimentation, it all sticks and, in the process, provides a cohesive, bewildering and brutal example of metallic mastery.

            Vocally, McBride’s work on Indwell is just as terrifying as the house-of-horrors musicianship might have you think. Where some tracks (“Exhale (Last Breath)” comes to mind) feature singing that can best be described as hair-raising, a great majority of the tracks on Indwell are home to styles of screaming, shrieking, growling and bellowing that—pardon my French—are just going make the listener ask “what the fuck” until the record is done. “Burn Victim,” while being one of the more straight-forward cuts on Indwell, also features some of the wildest vocal patterns—while “Devil in the Corner” showcases vocal techniques and tones that, frankly, I didn’t think could be produced by a human. “Exhale (Last Breath)” sounds almost like a dirge, dreary and bleak in its vocal delivery—and while skeptic when I’d heard some Cradle of Filth comparison, upon extensive review, I can hear it too, in a perverse, punishing fashion. McBride’s vocal work has underwent huge growth—both in technique and production—following Piss, smoothing the edges on what could otherwise be an altogether too-dense and too-abrasive record.

            Pigeonholing Methwitch’s genre is an act of impossibility. Where some will call it slamming technical deathcore or something, and others will append a “blackened” and “technical” tag to some metallic subgenre, I’ve taken to just sort of referring to Indwell as “methcore.” Taking all the elements from mathcore’s more aggressive archetypal bands and tossing them into a blender with metallic influence from melodic to murky, dismal funeral doom and more, Indwell is chaotic, crushing, creative and cruel to the unprepared listener. While there are definitely those who won’t be able to stomach a complete playthrough at any one time, the fact remains that within Indwell’s 57-minute run time, there is something for any fan of heavy music, and it blends so seamlessly that it isn’t hard to believe it’s all one band (or one man, even)—it’s hard to believe that it all transitions so fluidly and feels so cohesive.


For Fans Of: Ion Dissonance, Tower of Rome, Slipknot, Cradle of Filth, Dark Throne

By: Connor Welsh