They’re English, they’re on Rise Above (Lee Dorian of Cathedral’s label) and their band is called Witchsorrow; this should be a clear indication of the type of metal this could be, either traditional Heavy/Psychedelic or slow brooding Cathedral worship. Witchsorrow sit firmly in the latter category, also citing Electric Wizard as massive influences as well even being invited by Jus Osbourne to play at Roadburn in 2012. For a band that is as obscure (and new, starting in 2005, with their s/t debut in 2010) and not well known amongst metalheads, these are some pretty top quality endorsements to have under your belt.
Musically these guys can be compared to a combination of Cathedral and a much less fuzzed (but still bloody fuzzed) Electric Wizard, playing a style of brooding evil Doom that extends over long songs, the five tracks on this album ranging from 6 minutes to just under 12 minutes. Expect plodding fuzzed out chords, bassy guitar tones and deep rumbling bass guitar and drums as well as gruff, brooding vocals from Necroskull to hammer at your ears over this 45 minute debut. As well as the music style, the brooding mentality is applied to the lyrics, centring heavily on witches and witch trials, including some pretty dark natured lyrics like: “They will judge, they can’t understand the reasons why they forced your hand” and “Tricked by witchfinders, the great deceivers! Accused of witchcraft…”
Between the fuzzed out guitars, the lyrical content and the brooding vocals, the atmosphere created by this trio is entrancing and dark, and it’s a real sort of dark atmosphere, there’s no cheese to be found in this album. Despite this though, the album seems to suffer from some production issues in small sections of the album, taking away from the dark and deep brooding tone of the album as well as a few lacklustre sections of songs which desperately lack the evil brooding sounds that other sections employ. The longest song; Thou Art Cursed relies heavily on the tri-tone, which, over the almost 12 minutes runtime becomes a little overplayed though is effective in adding to the overall atmosphere despite this. The underwhelming sections of the songs, while few and far between, can at times make the album feel like a laborious listen although this tends to be rare.
Despite the above complaints, this album is an interesting and entrancing listen, and does the dark, brooding witchy atmosphere with as little fondue as possible, and besides, if Jus Obsourne willingly invited this band to play in the section of Roadburn he was curator for (2 albums in for Witchsorrow at the time), this album cannot have been a terrible debut. This debut is by no means a bad one but just happens to suffer a few blemishes which seemed to have been polished out on their sophomore release.
An album that, despite the minor flaws, is still recommended for people who desire a brooding, dark and slow Doom album, that truly lives up the genre name.