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Note a different edit of this review was posted on my blog "Subcide Webzine" in November 2012.
Unlike previous ‘Doom Cult’ releases, ‘The Grand Tormentor’, which is the first Witchrist release on Osmose Productions, has an instantaneous appeal. I found myself nodding my head to it from the first listen on my car stereo. In the past I’ve found them (recordings from the Doom Cult) to be slow growers. Where the previous Witchrist album, ‘Beheaded Ouroboros’, was more a barrage of unrelenting war chaos, ‘The Grand Tormentor’ is like a dirty ‘Immolation’, an ‘Incantation’ that’s been living rough for a few weeks without clean clothes or a shower, or maybe even a ‘Disma’ that’s staggered out of the Megalith covered in coal dust and then rolled in a rotting goat carcass and then in dust before showing up at home and been told to go outside until it’s squirted down with a high-powered hose.
From start to finish the album flows nicely. The opening tune, ''Into the Arms of Yama', is a nine minute building doom epic which eventually (around minute 6) breaks into death metal aggression. This simplistic, yet brutal Neanderthal assault continues in song number 2, the title tune, and again in ‘Meditation for Sacrifice’, which then progresses down into doom dirge. This is followed by ‘Wasteland of Thataka’, which at 1:36 is the shortest blast of hatred on the release. That hatred is blasted again in an extended barrage on 'Exile'. ‘The Tomb’ opens with a taste of ‘Autopsy’ and early ‘Pungent Stench’-styled slow dirge riffs with hammer on/hammer off tails which progresses into an intense up-tempo rhythm that continues into ‘Tandava’, then to the catchy fist-pumper that is ‘Cast into Fire’. Album closer ‘Funeral Lotus’ wraps things up in much the same way it started with an epic nine minute doom number.
A special comment must be given to the drum sound. Rather than the modern death metal triggered drum sound which to my ears sounds like a cross between a Geiger counter and someone farting loudly on a plastic chair, you can actually feel the low rumble of the kick drums more than you can hear them (although you can still clearly hear them), which in my view is how they are supposed to be. Additionally, the vocals sit in the music as more of an accompanying instrumental texture rather than dominating growls and this compliments the album nicely.
This sits up with “Kill this F*#king World” by Skuldom and “Opus One” by Sinistrous Diabolus as a kvlt classic NZ underground metal release. If you don’t have it yet, get it now!