Friday, June 29, 2012

Witchsorrow - God Curse Us

Witchsorrow are a British doom group who formed in 2006. This is their second full-length album, following their 2010 self-titled debut. I had heard the band's name before, but this was the first time I actually gave them a listen.

These guys clearly draw their sound from some of the UK's biggest doom acts. The drumming, like on most doom albums, is solid but unremarkable in its supporting role. The fuzzy, crushing guitar and bass riffs sound a great deal like the mighty Electric Wizard during many stretches, though Witchsorrow do not confine themselves exclusively to ultra-slow tempos. The vocals, on the other hand, may be the closest thing I've heard to Lee Dorrian's guttural retching on Cathedral's doom masterpiece Forest of Equilibrium. That can be a big turn-off for some listeners, as I know Dorrian was always kind of a love-him-or-hate-him vocalist, so I imagine the same will be true for this record. Personally, I love it. There are slow, semi-sung spoken parts as well, which add a nice touch of atmosphere to tracks like Meggido. That song also puts off a pretty strong Black Sabbath vibe, which is of course quite natural.

Now, I did mention that the tempos on this album are not exclusively super sluggish. While that is true, the bulk of the album does move very slowly. The really obvious exception is "Breaking the Lore", easily the shortest track at around 4 1/2 minutes and one of the most obvious puns on a classic metal title since And Justice For Ya'll.

I don't feel like this album introduces much in the way of new elements to the doom spectrum. What it does do, very effectively, is pull in influences from several of the best doom acts to ever emerge from the British Isles and combine them into a predictably excellent sounding whole. In the end, I don't even care whether or not this is particularly unique, because it sounds so fantastic.

Grade: A
Whenever I pick up a new doom record, this is exactly how I hope it will sound.

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