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Sometimes, I come across albums that blow me away so much, that I will attempt to write music of my own. While usually, I attempt to either write melodic doom metal similar to Anathema's The Silent Enigma and The 3rd and the Mortal's Tears Laid in Earth, Burning Witch once inspired me to attempt to write drone metal. Although I ended up never finishing what I tried to create, it is interesting how one album can be so original, so well-performed, and overall so great, that I would want to change the direction of the music I would want to write. Crippled Lucifer (Seven Psalms for Our Lord of Light) by Burning Witch was one of the first albums to have brought me into the dark, underground, realm of extreme doom metal. Because of that, this is one of my all-time favorite albums.
What I love about this album is how Burning Witch touches on several different styles of doom. They alternate between traditional doom, sludge, drone, funeral doom, and stoner rock. Most of the bands I can think of that combine elements of sludge and drone are lightened greatly by post-rock elements (such as Dark Castle or Year of No Light), or they play a bit too raw for my liking (such as Moss or Whitehorse). However, Burning Witch had more of a stoner-influence on their music rather than post-rock, and they also threw in some melodic riffs for some odd accessibility. The riffs are never too depressing, or too noisy, and yet, they pound like sledgehammers. Also, while the vocals mostly consist of abrasive screams, Edgy 59 also throws in some strange clean vocals every now and then throughout the album. To me, his clean vocals sound like Ozzy while on several tabs of acid. It adds a cool psychedelic touch to the music, and they specifically stick out on 'Warning Signs', 'Communion' and 'Sacred Predictions'. Lastly, the biggest highlight for me would be the atmospheric drone interludes that really stick out during 'Communion', 'Country Doctor', 'Tower Place', and 'Sea Hag'.
The icing on the cake would be the interesting artwork. The darkly beautiful imagery of occult paintings and sketches (all printed in a black and gold color scheme) create a cool visualization of the music for the listener. The only negative I really have for the album is how the lyrics for only three songs ('Warning Signs', 'Sacred Predictions', and 'Tower Place') are printed. These songs are about mental illness, depression, and drug addiction, written with such sincerity that you can't help but wonder if these are based on actual events. Since the lyrics to those songs are written so well, I'm curious to know what the other songs are about.
So, I would say that people who listen to Cough, Monarch, and Thou will love this. Also, things to watch out for on the album are the clean vocals on 'Warning Signs', the drone interlude on 'Communion', the intro to 'History of Hell', the intro to 'Tower Place', and the point in 'Sea Hag' in which the music starts to pick up.
Classy! This is a great doom album. Very slow and deep, with the vocalist(s?) alternating between a distant, moaning clean voice (like a twisted version of Ozzy) and a tortured, agonised cry. I believe these guys went on to later form Sunn O))) - this isn't quite as slow and minimalist as Sunn O))), but it's still pretty damn slow and grinding.
The highlights, i'd say, are the first and fourth tracks, but the album doesn't really work like that. It flows as one body, like a flow of heavy lava slowly crawling down the edge of a volcano, ready to devour an innocent village below. As far as I can tell the lyrics are of a Christian nature as apose to a Satanic philosophy. Doom metal has always seemed to take this stance, possibly to differenciate itself further from the speed and thrash metal of the 80s. When Slayer and Venom were donning pentagrams and upside-down crosses and speedily blasting through odes to devil worship and hellfire, Saint Vitus and Trouble crawled slowly through treks of dark revelation passages, sombre confessions and sermons of hell-to-sinners - arguably a much darker philosophy.
The structure is brilliant - it's a semi-progressive album, quite often going off and doing it's own thing as apose to following a song-like pattern, but then returning to certain bits to make sure it's hammered into our heathen brains. Definately an essential doom album, and very underappreciated it seems. Get it if you can.
Alot of us are familiar with the work of Steven O'Malley. Sunn O))), Teeth Of The Lion Rule The Divine, and, yes, Burning Witch. This album, being the only full-length before their split-up, has impressed me very much. Most doom bands mix their styles too much with boring death metal, but the best is always what we know as the stuff that really sticks to its Sabbath roots. This is definatly one of those bands. Some of us may be familiar with O'Malley's other work in Khanate, the ultra-slow, overdriven doom machine. This can be compared, and unfortunatly means it could just as well be a Khanate record. This is very slow and down-tuned doom at its best! Singer Edgy 69 does amazing vocals, sounding like the drug that creates doom. This voice and its great FX echoes through your mind when blasting this foul record! Lyrics can also be heard and recognized, thank goodness. Drums are at it's slowest and simplicity is all. This makes this record a very good background record. The vibratos in the guitar work make it o-so-Sabbath, taking you back in time. 'Crippled Lucifer' starts off with the mighty tunes of Warning Signs, an eight-and-a-half minute song which can be downloaded in saple form at http://www.southernlord.com/images/warning.mp3 . The rest of the CD takes on the gimmest forms by tearing you down in the exact same fashion as Warning Signs for more than an hour!! All great eight songs are long enough to take you to hell!
Burning Witch is definatly one of the better bands from the modern Sabbath reign! This one deserves THREE!!! \m/ \m/ \m/