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Witchsorrow is a traditional doom metal band from the U.K. This is the band's first album released on the label Rise Above, a label that has been making pretty big waves in the doom metal genre with groups like Electric Wizard, Ghost, Blood Ceremony, Witchcraft, and others.
Witchsorrow is a power trio utilizing crushing, yet agonizingly slow riffs. The band sounds a lot like the latter five tracks off of Reverend Bizarre's second album. All doom and gloom. The band does use guitar solos from Necroskull to add a little color to the otherwise bleak and destroyed sound. The riffs are bottom-heavy and very distorted. "Thou Art Cursed" stands out as the most somber of the songs, particularly in the early minutes.
The band does occasionally pick up speed, proving that they are not a monotonous band. However, they rarely do anything extra when they do pick up speed. The most obvious example is toward the end of "The Trial of Elizabeth Clarke" where they pick up a lot of speed, but revert back to the slow and gloomy riffs of the beginning of the track. "Gomorrah" is the fastest track on the album, though it could never be mistaken for speed metal. It does however, also slow way down several times, but otherwise is propelled by a Sabbathian galloping riff.
Vocalist Necroskull delivers the vocals in a dry, deathly groan. Occasionally the urgency in the vocal delivery increases and Necroskull is found yelling, but for the most part, his vocal style does not change.
There are only five songs on the album, and yet the album is nearly 50 minutes long, so obviously all of the songs are epic in length. This is not necessarily surprising given the style of metal though, so it is certainly not a complaint. Witchsorrow has found a way to make slow and plodding doom metal interesting enough to not lose the listener's attention, despite the length of the tracks.
Overall, I came away very impressed. There have been a lot more doom metal bands appearing of late. I do not think we have reached the saturation stage in this where there are too many yet, but it may not be long. As it stands right now, I do enjoy listening to new traditional doom metal bands, and that certainly includes Witchsorrow.
Originally written for http://metallattorney.blogspot.com
The band is called Witchsorrow, the record label Rise Above Records, so it's only too safe to hazard a guess that this will be either traditional or psychedelic doom before you've even heard a note of it through your speakers. Well, the UK trio certainly lean towards the former category, if we're thinking in terms of Cathedral or the more sluggish material from Sabbath or St. Vitus, and one actually might conjecture whether or not Lee Dorrian signed the band because he saw a little of his earlier self in their sound. Certainly, there are apt comparisons here to the first few Cathedral records, before they adopted their more groovy, accessible format with Ethereal Mirror (which happens to be one of my favorite albums by that outfit).
So, if your expectations are for slow, tortured sequences of chords that swell and groove to the disaffection of the vocals, then Witchsorrow are only too happy to oblige you in a slurry of five tracks and 45 minutes. 'Necroskull' has a similar lamentable tone to his howling that falls in somewhere between Dorrian and early My Dying Bride, and the music is implicitly simple, with nary a surprise hiding out anywhere. The bass and drums follow the thick axe broth all too closely, and as a result there is a somewhat one track feeling through "The Agony" or "The Trial of Elizabeth Clarke", though "Gomorrah" thankfully picks up the pace in the verse to "Symptom of the Universe" levels before its own churning, nihilistic breakdown, and "Impaler, Tepes" had me slowly craning my neck when it too started to rock.
Unfortunately, these don't represent most of the album, which is rather lacking in memorable riffs despite the straightforward intentions of the band. Nothing here is quite so primal or aggressive as the heights of Electric Wizard, or the more recent Ramesses, and there's not much of a variation outside of slight, minimal psychedelic ambient phrases like the tranquil calm at the core of "Impaler, Tepes" or the drudging melodic hypnosis deep within "Thou Art Cursed". I'm a stickler for certain qualities in doom, in short the ability to create the feelings of inevitable oppression without ennui that bands like Sabbath, St. Vitus, Candlemass and Trouble first manifest, and I'm not sure I'd give this debut a passing grade. By no means are Witchsorrow terrible, and to their credit, they're actually quite sincere, but I'd like to hear more than just the bare minimum of effort laid out before me, spelling my damnation.