Bastards Of The Skies - Ichor! Ichor!
Black Land - Extreme Heavy Psych
Decayor - Recurring Times of Grief
Denouncement Pyre - World Cremation
Hooded Menace - Never Cross the Dead
Spirit Descent - Doominion
Witchsorrow - Witchsorrow
Band: AFTER THERAPY
Title: Torn With The Teeth
Label: Sireen Records
Style: Traditional Heavy Metal
After Therapy is a band put together by vocalist "Screaming Mad" Dee Calhoun and guitarist Charlie Johnston who started out in a Black Sabbath tribute band called "After Forever". After years of developing their musical skills and chops, it became obvious that could quite easily put together their own original band and write their own songs and that is exactly what they did. The time they have spent playing Sabbath tunes rubbed off on them because this which is the first full length album still has its fair share of Sabbathism's but also with a blend of various other styles of Metal which gives them a all-round solid metal sound. Along with the influences of Sabbath, they have the classic traditional metal crunch of Judas Priest, the Stoner Rock grooves of Down, some guttural Death Metal but they also incorporate a good dose of Doom Metal into the mix but without really sounding like any other Doom band around. This combination of sounds and influences gives the band a strength and quality that is not too common these days within the world of Heavy Metal.
The opening track, "Bite" is a classic example of how to blend genres without sounding confused or disjointed. The opening riff is pure down-tuned Doom Metal that is thicker than mud but once the song gets into motion, it reeks of classic Heavy Metal of the Judas Priest variety while keeping the heaviness of a ballsy Doom Metal band. The Judas Priest reference is mainly evident in the vocals which have the classic vocal range of legendary front man from the past. What is unique about After Therapy is they somehow manage mix the old styles of metal with more modern sounding elements without getting stuck in either style. Songs like "Lifeless Hole" and "I Endure" have a classic metal crunch of the pure old-school headbanging kind. Both tracks feature some ball-breaking vocals from Calhoun that go from the deep, bellowing to the high-pitched wailing that is a stand-out feature of "I Endure". The guitar work is exceptional in its classic approach, Charlie Johnston has the a Iommi, Page meets Glenn Tipton type of quality about it but he is not shy at ripping out the occasional heavy Doom riff either.
"Bloody Valentine" is one of the killer tracks on the disc, a 8 minute, slow-building epic that builds in intensity at every turn. Even the vocals are constantly climbing the mountain of vocal gymnastics, the last couple of minutes of the tune reach majestic heights of Heavy Metal craftsmanship and technique. "Eight Years (prison)" is a solid, chunky, serious Metal workout that cruises along perfectly with the weighty rhythm section. Not what you could call original but beautifully executed and played with precision and class. The wide spectrum of influences really shines in a song like "Karen", that has atmospheric acoustically driven sections to thunderous riffing passages and back again to the acoustic before it launches into a chugging kick ass dose of pure metal. The guitar solo's are not a huge feature on the album but when they do make a appearance, they are very solid.
"Catrina Meets The Dealer" which closes "Torn With The Teeth" features more solid riffing, wailing vocals and pounding rhythms plus a twisting, gnarling guitar solo. Like i have already previously mentioned, After Therapy are not re-inventing anything but they dish up a 100% solid Metal album from start to finish that will most likely please the more old-school Heavy Metal fan. The whole experience is enhanced by great, full-bodied production but the best thing about it is the class in which every song is executed. Traditional Heavy Metal was invented to be played just with this amount of passion and skill and After Therapy deliver on both counts. Doom/Stoner rock fans who still like to hear strong melodies from time to time will get some enjoyment out of this disc as well as they supply some heavy-duty thick riffage on most of the tunes on here. In conclusion, this is about as solid as you will get these days in the world Of Heavy Metal releases, not original or ground-breaking but extremely kick-ass. I think you can pretty much sample the entire album on their Myspace page so go check it out, i have a feeling most of you will dig After Therapy.
Reviewed by Ed
Band: BASTARDS OF THE SKIES
Title: Ichor! Ichor!
Label: MSK Records
Style: Sludge Doom Metal
Hailing from Blackburn in the UK, Bastard Of The Skies seem to be injecting more filth into their sound with every recording they do. From the first demo in 2007, then to the debut full length album in 2008 to this new album "Ichor Ichor", the band keep pushing their sound and style to new heights of grittiness. This might have something to do with numerous line-up changes and instrument swapping that has taken place. The latest changes is bass player Rob Beesley has taken on the second guitar role while the bass is now played by Claire Horrocks. Drummer Craig Hetherington has been replaced by Matt Aldred, these changes within the ranks haven't hurt the band, in fact it seems to have injected a even more filthier edge to the thunderous noise they create. The sound of Bastard Of The Skies is a interesting one, too fast paced to be Doom Metal and yet they have a very Doomy sound while at the same time they sound too metallic and punky at times to be called sludge even though the closet tag you can put on them is "Sludge Metal". If you are confused, just put this in your CD player and any doubts are soon blown away by the sheer dynamics of the pulverizing attack this band has.
Within the time the short, intense opening track "Just A Horse" has to deliver its destructive forces, its obvious "Bastards Of The Skies" are intent on musical destruction. Riffs come at you fast and thick while the rest of the band pummels along in unison, this is the kind of track where you have to hit the repeat button just to take it all in one more time to hear everything. "Can You Fly Bobby" slows things down to a gritty Doom Metal slog fest while still played with the intensity of a Sludge meets Thrash Metal hybrid band. The nearest reference point may be High On Fire but "Bastards" does it with a kind of garage-rock type of metallic thrash and bash approach which sounds more like a live recording than its does a studio take. With the next track "Tree Of Woe" on the other hand, they bring out some dirty, Stoner Doom riffage that has a underlying ominous vibe. Creeping with seething intensity, the track has some unusual twists and turns that you don't expect to hear the first time around. Like all the songs on the album, there is melodic grooves hidden under the over-powering guitar sound and once they are firmly stuck in your mind, you will re-visit them time and time again.
One of the strongest grooves shows up on "A Legendary Temper" but its also full of memorable hooks but played at mid-tempo speed. The band makes it sound so easy that they seem to be in total cruise mode when they do it like this. If there is a blueprint for the sound of the band it is best summed up by a tune like "A Legendary Temper". If that track didn't give you the musical buzz you were looking for then the next track will, its called "Evensong" and its a major highlight of the disc. Plenty of doom riffage on display here which is all deliver to your ears in extremely heavy weight fashion. This type of musical assault is made even more monstrous by shifting genres all in the one song, keeping you guessing as to where the song will go next. At this stage of the album, song lengths get longer and tunes become even more varied and unique. "Lariat" echoes the best work from High On Fire without copying anything and i doubt if Matt Pike could come up anything this varied and multi-dimensional. "Lariat" may not be the best track on the album but its still a great track in its own right with more unpredictable twists and turns.
"Splendour! Splendour!" is a lengthy riff workout that begins and ends in pretty calm fashion for this band anyway but the bulk of the song bashes away and builds and moves mountains with the force of a 1000 rhinos. Its a pounding, apocalyptic, churning doom / sludge feast of monster riffs and its not pretty, this is dirty, grime swamp rock all the way. "Skies of the Bastard" contains mutated, seriously disturbed riffing with the hoarse, bellowing angry vocals creating a atmosphere that might be too unsettling for sensitive listeners. Don't go hitting eject just yet though for there is a hidden track which i just found out is called "Debbie Rochon", it features more of the weird and wonderfully disturbed vocals and sick, twisting guitar licks which at times sound like a kind of industrial Doom Metal. Mastered by James Plotkin, "Ichor Ichor" shows the band is still growing and getting better and more intense at delivering quality Sludge Metal. I don't really see how they can get any better than this to be honest, this is a killer disc from start to finish that sounds more American than it does British. Bastards Of The Skies can now rest knowing that they have risen to the top of the pack of Sludge Metal bands and there seems to be millions of those right now. Where they go from here is anybody's guess but for now i put them in the top five Sludge groups in the world. They have created a timeless, musical benchmark for Sludge Metal bands everywhere. Listen to Bastards Of The Skies people and hear how its done. Pulverizing goodness.
Reviewed by Ed
Band: BLACK LAND
Title: Extreme Heavy Psych
Label: Blood Rock Records
Style: Doom Metal
In 2001, the original band was formed under the name "Wizard". This remained till 2005 when the band created a new identity by calling themselves Black Land. The first four years of the band was a search for some type of stylistic coherence and that came in 2005 with a new name and the "Evil Of Mankind" album. The line up of Willer (guitar,vocals), Cantena (guitar), Pinna (bass) and Nick (drums) have since carve out a unique place in the world of Italian Stoner Doom that feels right at home with the other gods of Italian Stoner Doom, Doomraiser. The band's direction has taken a more Space Rock influenced sound over the last few years while still keeping its roots in Doom Metal and 70's Psychedelic Rock. A wide reaching and varied influenced band, "Extreme Heavy Psych" takes it style from bands like Electric Wizard, Pentagram, Saint Vitus, Paul Chain, Black Sabbath, Cathedral, Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Orange Goblin, Monster Magnet and the more spacey 70's bands like Hawkwind, Captain Beyond etc etc and you can hear a little chunk of all these influences on nearly every song on this album.
From the very Hawkwind-ish intro of "Psych No.1" to the incredibly tight and catchy mid-tempo sections that are very similar to the grooves of Pentagram, this track has a bit of everything crammed into its 10 minutes. Groovy bass lines, cowbell and some mind-blowing spacey sounds and guitar work. This is very drug-induced music, the perfect soundtrack to your next magic mushroom session. "Black Wizard" has a gloomy atmosphere that is obviously inspired by 70's proto-doom bands, once again its been done before many times but its also done with a real authentic feel of the 70's rather than sounding like a cheap copy. The whole album is a real serious guitar work-out and no more so than on "Black Wizard". One of the riffs on this tune is real close to a old Captain Beyond tune so of course, it had my head spinning with nothing but admiration and immense stoned euphoria. "Life And Death" has some more massive 70's riff work of the Pentagram mold, even the vocals has a Liebling vibe about it. The spaciness of the guitar sound and the earthly organic feel of the production gives "Life And Death" a trippy, strange atmosphere that Italian bands are especially good at producing. "Drowning Deeply" is more Psychedelic Rock fused with a relaxed 70's doom groove, it sounds a little bit cheesy at times but this is the kind of music that is real hard to hate.
"R and R Bite" is pure 70's cock rock and i mean that in a good way, catchy as anything you will ever hear this year. This is pure good fun old school rock and roll that is designed for backyard, beer drinking barbecues. Yes, its very mainstream in its delivery but the infectious quality of the song is irresistible. "Holy Weed Of The Cosmos" is a floating, cosmic trip that takes you away on a scenic, stoned daydream. Beautifully played and a prefect interlude at the halfway point on Extreme Heavy Psych. Totally opposite is the next track "From The Black To The Rainbow", you must be in a coma if this track doesn't make your neck muscles move. Killer riff work and another catchy, infectious melody carries the song and even the slower breaks within the song have a timeless quality about it. "From The Black To The Rainbow" builds in sonic, psychedelic intensity as the song progresses, getting more surreal and hypnotic at every turn. "Victims Of The Cast" is the final track and its another groove-fest riffing marathon that is extended to close to 10 minutes of twisting, turning musical sections that never get tedious or dull. The bluesy middle section featuring a extended wailing lead break automatically conjures up images of those old 70's festival movies you properly have seen many times. When the track eventually winds down to its suitably cosmic, hallucinogenic ending you are left knowing you have just wrapped your ears around something pretty cool, especially if you still dig the Acid Rock of the late 60's and early 70's.
Black Land are hippie, stoned out Psychedelic Doom Rock and are not ashamed to show their influences, they come through loud and clear in every song. If there is a negative point to be made about "Extreme Heavy Psyche" its that it is a little predictable in parts especially for a old dude like myself who has been listening to Psychedelic Rock since the early 70's. Also the vocals are a little bit ordinary, still very listenable but they sound a bit flat in places and lacking emotion. The album plays out like a homage to the 70's greats more than a fresh take on the style but at the same time, the great riffs, the incredibly high amount of catchy grooves and the excellent production makes this a album that is impossible to get out of your head even just after one spin. Fans of older, modern exponents of 70's proto-doom like Witchcraft should dig this as will fans of more recent bands like Orchid. I think they may need to work on more original ideas in the future if they want to have a long-lasting appeal and career but in the meantime, Extreme Heavy Psych will satisfy any cravings you might have for retro, psychedelic hard rock that is both kick ass but easily digestible. The conclusion is, check out Black Land, they are a real trip.
Reviewed by Ed
Title: Recurring Times of Grief
Style: Doom Death Metal
On first impressions, Decayor appear to be a total Death Metal band with the band's name and the artwork on this EP but this band from Ireland for the most part is slowed down Death Metal played with the intensity of depressive Doom Metal. Previous releases were just a couple of demo's but real good ones so i was excited to get a copy of this brand new EP called "Recurring Times Of Grief". The band play straight out, old-school Death Doom, no keyboards, no romantic interludes, no spacey sound effects, just straight out crushing Doom Metal with a Deathly twist. The EP begins with a short, ambient intro that is not very interesting and kind of pointless really but thankfully the rest of the EP makes up for it. The first real track named "Veil Of Despair" has all the dynamic ingredients you would expect from a Death/Doom band, deep growls, lead guitar that seems to cry out at you and crushing riffing of course. Right from the start its becomes clear that these Irish dudes have spent a lot of time on these songs. Dynamic riffing that is always changing, shifting mood changes and a sense of true musicianship. Vocals offer a surprise at every turn as they change frequently and the drumming is spectacular. They have a slightly unorthodox way of constructing their epic tales of insanity and depression, the music itself isn't anything original but the way the songs are arranged sound fresh and interesting.
"The Sacred Heart Is Bleeding" is my pick for best track on the EP, a classic melodic guitar line that shifts into a more up-tempo, chugging rhythm one minute before descending into a glorious, ominous, atmospheric section based around acoustic guitar. Some clean vocals come in that is pure, spine-chilling stuff and then it turns into a monster of a Doom track again spiraling down to a climatic ending. The other track on the album, "Weeping Willows" has more great riffs, remarkable vocals that include some breath-taking screams, tempo changes that excite and mind-bending lead breaks. The main man who writes most if not all the material is guitarist, vocalist Pauric Gallagher, better known for his work in Mourning Beloveth. The EP is just a bit over 30 minutes long so its just a sample of what the band is capable of in the future and while they are not re-inventing anything, they are not recycling anything either. What stands out is the skilled musicianship and the songs that are extremely well thought-out. Without a doubt, Decayor are a band to watch out for.
Reviewed by Ed
Band: DENOUNCEMENT PYRE
Title: World Cremation
Label: Hell’s Headbangers
Style: Death/Black Metal
Somewhere around here I have the split LP Denouncement Pyre did with Diocletian. Like many I mainly got it for the Diocletian tracks but, truth be told, the Denouncement Pyre side is a bit more worn today than the other. It’s a close tie but Denouncement Pyre has the win.
Denouncement Pyre hail from Melbourne, Australia. Listening to it’s music, however, I do think you would have a hard time figuring it out straight away. Sure, there are some give aways but, seriously, what blasting and thrashing metal ov death doesn’t sound a bit Australian? The guys pretty much invented that field.
Denouncement Pyre play brutal & thrashing metal ov death noir and they rarely give you a chance to breathe. From "Black Womb of Magdalene” the band forces it’s music down the listener’s throat with such force that when you finally get to "Invitation of Poison” you are pretty much worn out.
However, the band is not the kind to let you go easy and I think people will be drawn to this album more than just one time around. If you are looking for hard and well played black death metal then this is the band for you.
Reviewed by Eyvindur
Band: HOODED MENACE
Title: Never Cross The Dead
Label: Profound Lore Records
Style: Doom Death Metal
Finland’s Hooded Menace’s debut "Fulfill The Curse" was such a impressive album that i thought it would have to be all downhill from here for the band. How could they possibly follow such up a classic slab of crushing Death/Doom like that. As unbelievable as it is, they have done it with the new album "Never Cross The Dead". Better artwork, better production, chunkier guitar sounds and songs that flow a little easier than the first album makes "Never Cross The Dead" a worthy companion piece to "Fulfill The Curse". The Hooded Menace sound remains intact, Cathedral, the Doom/Death riffing of Asphyx, the atmosphere of early Candlemass, the brutality of Autopsy and of course the love for all things in the realm of obscure cult horror movies. The band led by Lasse Pyykkö on guitars, bass and vocals breathes new life into the Death Metal scene especially for those sick and tired of cookie-cutter bands with pro-tooled fake-ness. Hooded Menace also give Doom Metal a kick in the ass by delivering twisted, deranged inflections of groove into their plodding, morbid mesmerizing slog-fests. Add to that languid string bends, waves of orchestral sweeps, morose roaring vocals and sorrowful melody lines and you have a soundtrack for the morbid and the downright insane.
Starting out with the title track "Never Cross The Dead", the album wastes no time in filling your room with a vibe of deathly woe and torment. The music is punishing with the buzz-saw guitars that slowly cuts away at your flesh for almost 9 minutes. The opening riff is a funeral march to insanity and when the bellowing vocals make their first appearance, the overall effect is one of sheer devastation. Hooded Menace are renown for their haunting grooves but its also the lead guitar work on this album especially that give the band a sinister vibe that is all their own. The opening of second track "Terror Castle" is so creepy, it makes Saint Vitus sound like Motley Crue. While its mostly slow, churning grooves there is the odd burst of energy and "Terror Castle" has that in passages that verge on Progressive Rock. The thickness of the grooves especially at the halfway point to the end of the track are overpowering and just when you think you have heard it all, there is even tortured female screams inserted into the final minute of "Terror Castle" just to add a even more sinister vibe. One of the best tracks has to be "Night Of The Deathcult", it pays tribute to bodily dismemberment not only in the lyrics but also in terms of sound. This track crushes everything in its path and the tempo changes within it are purely inspirational. What sets this album apart from "Fulfill The Curse", is where as that album had the killer guitar sound, "Never Cross The Dead" has a fuller, richer sound from all instruments, no more so than on "Night Of The Deathcult".
"The House Of Hammer" has the strongest melody lines Hooded Menace have ever produced along with a mid-tempo shift into a pulsating groove with guitar virtuoso bits that are way beyond anything found on their first album. "Rituals Of Portal Cremation" has a Doom Metal orchestral vibe that is unlike anything i have heard, while bands like Skepticism come close to it, in my opinion Hooded Menace not only nail the technique, they take to a place its never been before. While its all extremely gloomy, they have a strong sense of Heavy Metal craftsmanship in the way melody lines are delivered. Creating atmospheric music like this without resorting to using keyboards is a achievement in itself and even though the songs are real long, dragged out slabs of morbid deathly doom, they hold your interest right up the last thunderous notes of each track. "As The Creature Ascend" is equally as punishing as anything on the album, seething with threatening malice it takes the Death/Doom genre to its ultimate degree of catastrophic, depressive heaviness. "From Their Coffined Slumber" continues in the same twisting, turning fashion as the previous tracks. Swirling, mutated riffing and the trademark guttural vocals spreading their tales of horror and the morbid curiosity for zombies and rotting flesh in general. Still there is a kind of harrowing beauty behind the wall of sound, like the crunchy, catchy riffing that fills up most of the second half the song. This is infectious while remaining as heavy as anything around in the scene today.
The final track is the biggest eye-opener of the bunch, its the "Theme From Return Of The Evil Dead" and its a monumental tribute to all the "dead" films. At only a tad over 3 minutes long, its the shortest and most direct track on "Never Cross The Dead" but a fitting way to finish this masterpiece. Without a doubt, Hooded Menace are the consummate Death/Doom band, the bar has been set ever higher with this release. Despite the long running times of 7 of the 8 songs, it never drags or gets boring. The atmosphere of the album is maintained throughout without ever getting bogged down by repetition, even the vocals which stay the same throughout the entire album suit the music perfectly. This is a landmark album for Hooded Menace and for the Death/Doom genre as a whole, its also a album you can listen to over and over again. It also presents a problem to me the reviewer, "Fulfill The Curse" got a 9 rating from me which i still think is justified so "Never Cross The Dead" has to get a 10, this makes me want to re-think my whole rating system for albums. Very few albums exceed expectations but Hooded Menace have done just that, in my opinion this is the best album ever made in the Death/Doom genre.
Reviewed by Ed
Band: SPIRIT DESCENT
Style: Doom Metal
There has been a bit of a revival of Traditional, Epic Doom Metal in the last couple of years and the world of Doom is much better off for it, but there is still not enough of this brand of Doom in the world especially in the U.S.A. Spirit Descent from Germany are one of the new shining lights in the scene and judging by this album, they are destined to be one of the most appreciated. Take Note doomsters, this album will be at the top of play-lists by the end of the year. If not there is something seriously wrong with the ears of listeners out there, this album is a instant classic statement of Epic, Crushing Doom Metal. Spirit Descent come from the old-school of classy song-building, progressive rock arranging and quality production. They avoid the tendency to down-tuned everything to a sub-sonic level but they make up for that by delivering quality crushing riffs and incredibly exciting melodies. The influences are obvious because its fair to say, Spirit Descent are not original in any way but it never hurts your listening pleasure of this fine album. The influences i am guessing are Candlemass, Black Sabbath, Solstice, Solitude Aeturnus and the heavier side of 70's Progressive Hard Rock.
"Doominion" is such a complete piece of work that highlighting individual tracks is almost pointless, the whole album is a magical experience from the opening of the first track "Greed" to the hidden surprise track that plays out after a lengthy stretch of silence at the end of the disc. At the end of the album, let it run people because you will be amazed by a gem of a track that awaits you. Within a minute of opening track "Greed" you are swept away by a titanic wave of crushing, thunderous Doom Metal. Like i have already mentioned, its intensely heavy with resorting to down-tuning to Z and the immaculate work of ex-Cold Embrace man Andreas Libera on guitar, bass and vocals is simply inspirational to hear. The vocals of Jan Eichelbaum is very much in the mold of Robert Lowe and he has a commanding, powerfully controlled melodic voice and the drumming and the drum sound in general is huge. "Greed" is a very quick 6 minutes that never loses any momentum, it even has a mid-tempo section that causes you to head-bang uncontrollably. Showing that they are not a one-trick pony, they follow that piece of metallic gold with "Land Of Tears". Here a straight-forward riff is used to perfection that displays they have a knack not only for the technical but good old fashioned solid Metal as well. "In Hatred" and "The Path of Doom" doesn't let you down either with unrelenting ominous riffing and majestic melodies.
On "Demon", Jan Eichelbaum shows what a talented, multi-dimensional vocalist he really is with a amazing vocal performance. By the time "A New Dawn" comes creeping out of your speakers, if you are like me you will be wondering where has this band been hiding. One classic track after another, they seem to have a endless supply of ideas and a passion for Doom Metal that is hard to match. "Of a Nation Forlorn" and the last track "Stranger on Earth" continue in the same vein without ever sounding repetitive. Then after a lengthy pause you get to the bonus hidden gem and its a mind blowing slab of metal greatness. Now if that is not enough already, they have recently been joined by Randy Reaper from The Lamp of Thoth on guitar. That might just be total overkill, can Spirit Descent get any better than what they sound like on "Doominion", the answer is properly not but the thought of Reaper on guitar in this band is just the icing on the cake for a band that is pure Doom Metal excellence. From Ambient, Acoustically driven passages to Experimental type sections to monolithic crushing axe swinging, this album has it all and more. I have nothing but praise for this awesome slab of Doom.
Reviewed by Ed
Label: Rise Above Records
Style: Doom Metal
Holy Crap, this is one heavy album from UK's Witchsorrow, after delivering a interesting but patchy demo in 2008, they have got all their Doom Metal elements together for this beast of crawling, seething monolithic Doom Metal. The line-up of Nick "Necroskull" Ruskell on guitar and vocals, Emily Witch on bass and Morrellhammer on drums have all the passion and doomed intensity required to play Doom Metal in all its stripped down, raw, bare-boned glory. This album is out on Rise Above Records and i don't know how much Lee Dorrian has to do with the actual recording but its very similar in mood to the first Cathedral album. Influenced by the true greats of Doom Metal like Saint Vitus, Candlemass, Black Sabbath, Reverend Bizarre and Trouble, the band sound closer to Electric Wizard more than anyone else but even the Wizard would struggle to come up with this crushing.
Opening track "The Agony" is indeed the pure musical meaning of agony. The bass-driven sound that Witchsorrow has is the perfect backbone for producing this kind of depressive sloth-rock. It barely moves along at all, rather it crawls along like a drunken snail. There is no real change of pace at all throughout its 9 minutes but there is a killer riff and mood change 6 minutes in with some real sick moaning lead work from Ruskell. The comparisons with Electric Wizard don't just end with the music, the vocals are also in the vein of EW but this is not a recycled effort in any way at all. "The Trail Of Elizabeth Clarke" opens with a riff not too far removed from Sabbath's Iron Man etc etc but its played at such a slow tempo, not even Sabbath could play this slow even if they were on heroin with broken arms. Needless to say, i crave this kind of Doom Metal. The monotonous tempo is truly hypnotic, capturing the true essence of what Doom Metal is about but wait for the mid-paced tempo change at the 6 minute mark in the song. Catchy, infectious while remaining 100% heavy, these type's of grooves give you goosebumps...magical.
The shortest track at a measly 6 minutes is called "Gomorrah" and for the first time on the album, you are greeted with a mid-paced burner for a while at least. Again its a infectious rhythm showing they have more than one trick up their collective sleeves. A great, fuzzy solo in the middle of "Gomorrah" pushes the track to a new level of grooved based hippie rock before it winds its way back to the monolithic, grinding Doom Metal that is heard on the start of the CD. "Thou Art Cursed" continues in its very orthodox style, true to say Witchsorrow are not reinventing anything or doing anything original but its played with real heart and a obvious passion for this genre of music we love so much. "Thou Art Cursed" has a more of a Psychedelic Doom edge compared with the rest of the album, maybe in the way the song takes you to a peak and holds you there in anticipation for something. That something doesn't happen till the 10 minute point in the song where they launched in another one of their mid-tempo doom grooves, again the result is a stunning piece of infectious neck-wrenching axe-swinging.
"Impaler,Tepes" is the final track on this monster of a album and its a killer tune. More drawn-out Sabbath riffs played with the Electric Wizard down-tuned level of heaviness are what is on show here and they keep up for over 9 minutes. They could have made it 60 minutes and i would be sitting, listening with jaw dropped to the floor. "Impaler,Tepes" is split into three separate parts of Stoner Doom wonderment, the first is the mid-tempo groove they have obviously perfected, the second is a atmospheric, medieval passage and then the final section turns into a seething, swampy dirge of colossal proportions. When the final fade comes to be, you are left with a album that will stand the test of time in the minds of the Stoner Doom fan. With slow, pummeling riffs, catchy mid-tempo shifts and lyrics about medieval witch trials, the question remains - what more could you ask for?
Reviewed by Ed