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Masters of Nothing (And Doom) - 83%

GuntherTheUndying, October 7th, 2012

Witchsorrow sounds like Cathedral if Lee Dorian sold his soul to Belial, crawled his way back from Hell, and then wrote songs about his experiences in damnation. "God Curse Us" is only the second album from this British trio, but the doom metal magic they conjure throughout this harrowing opus honors the vision of black-robed sorcerers encompassing a human sacrifice, summoning auras of an occult atmosphere and remaining totally loyal to the works of Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Cathedral, and other lords of doom. There is no attempted advancement on the behalf of Witchsorrow; the album is merely taking the oldest form of metal and bringing it back into a shadowy land of forlorn, hopeless misery that neglects all that is light.

"God Curse Us" is around fifty-five minutes long and includes six gigantic doom cuts with a creepy interlude used to segue between two of the unhallowed chapters provided by Witchsorrow. Overall, "God Curse Us" is unusually consistent and addictive, given that the band's style makes no attempt to radically shift doom metal's usual pattern, but instead pays tribute to its innovators. A good number of tracks start off with a mega-slow pattern gruelingly milking every drop of its dark, atmospheric usefulness before Witchsorrow boots an unexpected mid-paced section right in your face. Of course, the album is heavier than a million dead elephants, and the massive sound produced by the glorious production remains clear, mythical, and certainly brutal.

It takes a village of idiots to screw up honest doom worship like this, but Witchsorrow stands out because they've established some unique fissures hiding between the cracks of "God Curse Us." For one, Necroskull (his parents weren't very creative) strikes hard with razor-sharp vocals which make this reviewer think of Lee Dorian, and during the faster parts he unleashes a semi-shriek over the bruising earthquake; his individualistic croons appear to have a positive presence over Witchsorrow's general blueprint. I also noticed a handful of the percussion patterns (especially during "Aurora Atra") deviate from the bass-snare patterns most doom bands fall into when dramatically slowing the pace, so in the end, I feel like they've made something that has a lot of replay value and substance.

In fact, I'd say Witchsorrow's brew rocks the socks off of most doom metal records I've heard from 2012, or even 2011 for that matter. The whole melting pot tastes like sin and gold, melted together in an alchemistic precision so faithful and firm on what it believes, what it stands for, and gladly acknowledging where it came from. "God Curse Us" defines all that is heavy, diabolical, sinister, infectious and deadly within doom metal, and I suggest you give this devilish release a whirl if you desire the magic of Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Cathedral or perhaps Electric Wizard. You can trust Witchsorrow; they will deliver the goods regardless of your intentions.

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Solid UK doom - 70%

Andromeda_Unchained, August 2nd, 2012

Album number two from the traditional doomsters Witchsorrow. It's clear the band worship the likes of Black Sabbath, Pentagram and Saint Vitus and Witchsorrow's style is almost the dictionary definition of no-frills doom. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as doom metal is a style not to be messed with and Witchsorrow play with conviction.

There's no chance God Curse Us will appeal to anyone outside of the doom circles, but for fans of the genre I'd say you are in for a treat. Fuzzy, bluesy riffs and guitar leads slither through mammoth arrangements, sucking the life out of every hanging note, with funeral march drum beats and of course some chunky bass lines. The vocals hang low in the mix, giving an arcane feel, and the style of these vocals is a slightly harsh, almost spoken approach.

To level some negatives upon God Curse Us is that even for the genre the songs are particularly drawn out, in places verging on funeral doom-type pacing. The riffs aren't as memorable as I would like, and I feel Witchsorrow have a tendency to ride some of these out a little more than necessary. Fortunately there is noticeable effort to remedy the drudging pace with some opportune mid-paced chugging, this certainly helps keep the attention when some of the songs become a little drab. The atmosphere is pretty good too, which is something essential of the style.

All in all I think Witchsorrow have put out a solid release here, despite some pitfalls which probably aren't going to be much of a problem for the more ardent doom fans. Whilst the band still have some ways to go before they can match their heroes in terms of quality, their hearts are in the right place and when it comes to doom it wouldn't take an idiot to notice that Witchsorrow mean business. Fans of doom should know what they're in for, and I would imagine those who favor this genre will enjoy God Curse Us duly.

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Breaking the Lore - 85%

Papyrus11, June 20th, 2012

Witchsorrow have given us a seriously solid piece of doom with ‘God Curse Us’: classic sounding but with enough uniqueness of style and some added aggression to make it stand out, this is my ideal modern doom album. ‘God Curse Us’ is heavy as hell, to put it simply. Maybe that’s a simple point to make but first things first; you want a doom band to be dredging-the-depths, crushing-your-head-in-with-a-hammer, planets-imploding heavy, and Witchsorrow deliver like the Grim Reaper himself. Never mind God cursing us, Witchsorrow are cursing God with this kind of heaviness. If bleakness is beauty then this album should be in a museum.

Of course, how much you like this album depends on how you feel about familiarity in this kind of music. There are multiple reference points to other bands in the tracks. For example the title song has the Sabbath-like feel of ‘Electric Funeral’ in its main riff. This is a doom staple and Witchsorrow use it because it sounds brilliant, not to break new ground, I think. Personally I don’t have any problem with a band in this genre not sounding completely original: doom needs the atmosphere, misery, plodding tempos and the basic sense of impending, crawling bleakness, and any massive movements away from the original backbone of the genre can reduce these elements, and this is a bad thing for doom-craving souls. There is a hierarchy of influences in the band’s overall sound which enhances the music and places them on their own pedestal in the doom pantheon: put simply, if you like Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Cathedral, Electric Wizard, Reverend Bizarre, The Gates of Slumber or countless others then you WILL love Witchsorrow. They wallow, and revel, in gloom and the endless doom that they (and we) love and it sounds amazing. Having such a firm grasp on and appreciation for the staples of the doom sound as they clearly do means Witchsorrow have created something like a how-to-do-doom-well manual; a perfect example of the genre.

I had to mention the band’s relationship to music that has gone before because it’s unavoidable frankly, but let’s not get too bogged down with the idea. Witchsorrow are their own band; I feel pretty certain that I could hear a previously unheard song of theirs now and know it was them straight away. This is down to many factors, not least of which is the vocals. The excellently named Necroskull has a great, sneering voice that pumps out ominous doom sermons, with occasional forays in to a more extreme style. He also has a great sense of rhythm, making his vocals interlock perfectly with the riffs. Guitar tones are also extremely important for doom bands and Witchsorrow excel here. A really crunchy, but at the same time clear, guitar tone mixes with a thick, suffocating bass one, making a brilliant, no-frills doom sound come alive. Completing the power trio is the drummer who pounds ominously at funeral tempos, before blasting out mercilessly as the band enter one of their more fast-paced sections. The mix of tempos really give Witchsorrow an extra dimension to their sound, something which they take full advantage of.

Music can be analysed all night, breaking down and studying every aspect of it until it isn’t even fun anymore. But the simple things remain, and they are probably the reasons most people listen to music in the first place. The main elements of doom are atmosphere, emotion and heaviness and Witchsorrow deliver all of these to extremely capable and potent degrees. They studied the lore, enhanced it, covered it in the thickest misery going and made it their own. Listening to ‘God Curse Us’ is like taking a journey into the darkest essence of doom, and what more could you want really? Every aspect of it rules, from the playing to the production and the overall vibe and if you like doom metal at all you need to hear it.

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