On Witch-rock electronic duo Damn the Witch Siren’s last release, Back to Dreaming, there’s a song called “Let the Beast Out.” It’s one of the most aggressive songs on the album and it hints at a direction that the duo occasionally touches on. The sound seems to originate with Z Wolf, and upon hearing his record “Dream Machine II” I wonder about this.
Dream Machine II takes an idea explored in passing on Back to Dreaming and explores it for an entire record. I’m not up to snuff on my synth-wave terminology, but I’ll do my best to explain how this album makes me feel.
Damn the Witch Siren is a serious project, make no mistake. However Z Wolf’s most recent solo foray has some formidable jams to behold. It’s aggressive. It pulls lots of punches. And it’s here to make you dance. Dance to death? Maybe. “Die For You” is a dark love song that has what may be one of my favorite choruses of the year. Z Wolf’s vocals really show off. If there was any question about his versatility, this song proves it in the affirmative. “The Only Thing” is another song with a melody that is triumphantly ethereal, that serves as the perfect follow up to the aforementioned “Die For You.”
Another standout moment of the album for me comes with “Ghosts Come Knocking,” a very loud number that I could see a fair amount of hardcore dancers getting down and dirty with in the pit. Traditional dancers better watch out if they’re on the dance floor and some punks are nearby – a fist or foot may come flying from someone who decided to open up the pit. In contrast, the album closer “The Light” carries us out of the shadows and into the light (no pun intended). This melody feels good, even though we had a blast in the shadows earlier. So the song is more of a transition than a rescue.
Dream Machine II definitely carries over the predominant themes of fantasy and sensuality from the world of the Witch Siren, though. “Forever and Ever” has some of the most memorable lyrics in this regard – they are vulnerable and subtly seductive:
I saw you in the forest in the middle of the night I saw you running wild So i sold you my heart I sold you both of my eyes I sold you my secrets I sold you all my lies
There you have it. I have this feeling that this album will be woefully overlooked in Ohio and beyond this year, and I really hope that isn’t the case. Z Wolf can outshine many of his more popular counterparts in the industry. I could see these tunes warming up the stage for an M83 type artist.