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It's been 5 years since their last record, and Cult of Daath have finally returned with the "Doomed By the Witch" Demo (their 3rd demo tape so far). Given their love of classic riffs and atmosphere, it's no surprise that they also love this classic form of release.
"Doomed by the Witch" is everything a good demo should be. It's short and all the material is solid, so it leaves the listener wanting more. This band is classified as "black metal" but this is black metal in the earliest sense, taking their cues from Venom. The production is strong, especially for a demo tape. You can tell that this duo has taken the time to refine their sound in the 10 years they've been playing together. They haven't gotten experimental or strayed from their blackened roots, so the past decade has been spent zeroing in on the perfect mix of 80s blackened thrash attack.
From the thunderous opening of "From Temple to Abyss," you know these guys mean business. The song erupts into a solid mid-paced riff with nice double bass thickening out the sound. No bullshit triggers, this drummer plays in the classic style and knows how to work a kick pedal. The guitar has the perfect buzzsaw tone with just the right about of reverb. Despite being a two-piece, even the bass stands out well in the mix. The track ebbs and flows between speedier riffs to slower breakdowns and back again, all without breaking a sweat. This isn't a band that needs to play as fast as possible to get their point across, they are perfecting the art of rockin' black metal that Venom invented and so many others have taken for granted.
The first track then fades out into the subdued acoustic passage 'Rumination I" for just over a minute before blasting back into the epic title track. A soaring lead opens over galloping drums. The drums break into a tight snappy beat during the verse before returning to the double-bass gallop that Wargoat is so damned good at. The accents he hits in this song almost remind me of classic crust or Japanese hardcore. You don't need to play blazing fast when you hit this hard!
Next we have the highlight of this tape, "Spell Thrust." This is my new favorite song by these guys. It's a perfect 80s banger over a tight d-beat with a chorus you absolutely want to pump your fist to. Finally they conclude with a cover of Profanatica's "As Tears of Blood Stain the Altar of Christ," a mostly instrumental track with a few guttural growls for punctuation. I must admit I'm not familiar with the original, but they make it sound their own. This is the most "black metal" sounding track on the tape, putting the Venom worship on hold to break into some speedier 2nd wave black metal riffs.
Nuclear War Now! always does a nice job with their releases, and this tape looks as good as it sounds. Nice pro-printed cassette with 2-color screenprinted foldout jacket. Some people might dismiss this as a mere 3 songs plus a cover and an acoustic interlude, just some filler before another proper release. Don't be fooled, this tape packs a serious punch! All in all, a solid release for a "demo" and hopefully an indication of more good things to come.