(Metal Blade)

01. The Agony
02. The Trial of Elizabeth Clarke
03. Gomorrah
04. Thou art Cursed
05. Impaler, Tepes

RATING: 7/10

Released appropriately enough on Rise Above Records in Europe earlier this year, WITCHSORROW's self-titled debut now sees release this month in North America via Metal Blade Records. Knowing bare boned, traditional doom metal when they hear it (YOB anyone?), the label surely didn't make the decision to unleash the UK act's long-player (literally) for its commercial breakout potential.

Consisting of five songs, four of which exceed the nine-minute mark, WITCHSORROW rolls big trad-doom boulders down mountainsides and wrings out as much blood, sweat, and forlorn tears out of each fat riff and thunder beat as inhumanly possible. Guitarist/vocalist Necroskull sounds like a grittier Lee Dorrian (CATHEDRAL) and the slow-death cadences and licks seem to be most notably culled from the works of ELECTRIC WIZARD, REVEREND BIZARRE, and PENANCE. But then it always comes back to early BLACK SABBATH, doesn't it? You can hear it in a big way when the trio breaks for a classic Iommi — perhaps as reinterpreted by ELECTRIC WIZARD reinterpreting KYUSS — riff and up-tempo, cymbal-riding Bill Ward beat at the nine-minute mark of "Thou Art Cursed". It is a welcome shift after nine minutes of airy picking and fuzz-choked electric crush that leaves little air left in the coffin until the lid is ripped off its hinges by the aforementioned riff. It is also important to note that Necroskull's guitar solos throughout the album bring out the goose bumps.

I suspect the picture is forming quite clearly in your mind at this point and detailed analysis is unnecessary, except to note that while the emphasis is on sizzle-crawling, slow-burning, and dirge plowing, the tempos change just often enough — in the most relative of senses - to stave of funeral dooming excess. The mid-tempo turn on "The Trial of Elizabeth Clarke" is but one example of a welcome release from the house that tension built. The D-Heads have already anointed this one doom metal royalty. Everyone else will hear it more clearly as a mighty fine representation of traditional doom, but hardly an imaginative or expansive one. Stout, sturdy, solid…take your pick.


To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).