*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State*
This month’s State is Oregon!
Witch Mountain was formed in 1997 and became a household name in the city that keeps it weird, Portland, Oregon. The doom crew had just released mostly likely the best album thus far since the formation of the band in the 2014 release ‘Mobile of Angels’ their 8th album. Singer Uta Plotkin was belting out all the vocals on the most recent albums. Her voice became the definition of doom to most within the scene. Uta announced she would be leaving the band prior to the release of ‘Mobile of Angels’ in September of 2014. If that wasn’t already enough bassist Charles Thomas was leaving the band as well. This left only drummer Nathan Carson and guitarist Rob Wrong. Uta left some huge shoes to fill for whoever would eventually take her place. The band had a few months to look around for a singer prior to Uta leaving the band. They were in no immediate hurry to fill the spot and just wanting to ensure they had the right person. Less than a week after receiving a video audition from Kayla Dixon she was to become the new singer of Witch Mountain. Dixon spent some time with the Cleveland based band Demons Within, but the majority of her career was in theatre acting. The 19 year old Dixon was flown out to join the band and newly added bass player Justin Brown from the Portland band Lamprey. Once again the band was complete.
In March of 2015 Witch Mountain would embark on their debut tour opening for YOB with Kayla Dixon at the helm. 5 days into that tour we were there to see what she had to offer. Kayla seemed very composed and eager to take stage. The whole crowd had yet to hear her sing as nothing had been released, so we were all going into this deaf and blind not knowing what to expect out of the new singer. Her singing would go from hitting these very high notes in perfect fashion to these deathly growls. After the first song the crowd was more than ready for more of the new Witch Mountain. That first song is all it really took for the crowd to immediately fall in love with the bands new sound. Though they would keep their doom based sound intact it was vastly different than what they was doing before. Kayla can hit the highest of high notes and unleash a growl that strikes fear in all. The band was quickly turning heads. The attention quickly got them a spot on the Blackest Of The Black tour in 2015, which was the must see tour of the year. The lineup included Danzig, Superjoint Ritual, Veil of Maya, Prong and Witch Mountain. Legendary bands in the metal world and Witch Mountain had the job of warming up the crowd each and every night. 2016 saw the release of the first single with Kayla Dixon cementing her role as the vocalist of the band. “Burn You Down” is an iconic dark and melodic doom track that let her empowering vocals prowl from beginning to end Rob Wrong’s left handed guitar strumming really creates that fuzz element to their sound. Again Witch Mountain found themselves sharing the stage with more legendary acts. This time on 2016’s Psycho Las Vegas. They played alongside numerous acts like Alice Cooper, Baroness, Lo Pan, Candlemass, ASG, Blue Oyster Cult and High On Fire just to name a few. It also was one of the must see festivals of the year. It’s easy to see that the band is going places. The passion they put forth on stage has propelled them and gained fans worldwide by the droves. Aside from the bands on stage performances Kayla Dixon also made an appearance on the NBC show Grimm that aired on March 24th. Being in front of thousands of fans was already amazing and now she is beaming through your tv to millions of households around the world. Other than being on stage and spreading their doom filled goodness to crowds of metal heads, appearing on national television the band also took the time to headline a show in support of Planned Parenthood and ACLU. Not only for their sound and abilities as musicians does this band deserve your attention, but they also take the time to give back to their community which should also gain your applause and respect. If you have not yet had the opportunity to witness Witch Mountain live then I urge you to see them soon. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.