Album Review: Coven's Will by Witchskull
Riffs! Doom! Witches! Sabbath worship!! What can go wrong? Those are all the ingredients to make a sinfully delicious metal cuisine. Just add weed and the Orange Amps, right? Yeah! So, at first, I must admit a couple contradictory things. One, I totally love this wave we’re getting of 70’s hard rock inspired doom Sabbath-worship type bands. Sabbath being arguably the greatest band of all time, I have nothing but love for the bands today that try to recapture and perform that black magic they conjured up in the realms of the England countryside once upon a time. In fact, you could say I’m a sucker for it, much like old school death metal and bands trying to recapture that vibe. I think that the existence and success of these bands (and even a hugely successful band like Ghost) speaks to the longing for the old days of true and simple, evil, riff-loaded, blatantly satanic, and drug-laced, heavy goddamn metal. And Witchskull provide that head severed on a silver plate for us.
But, my second confession, as much as I love Witchskull and bands of the same vein, well, it just seems that vein is a little tapped. It’s been bled dry. Or, well, sucked dry by armies of undead stoners, probably. At least thats how it feels sometimes… like just the in the vast majority of sabbath worship or vintage stoner rock bands, there seems to be fewer and fewer worth listening to. Not that they’re BAD by any stretch, at the end of the day a generic doom metal band is way better than most bands or whatever other bullshit is going on out there. I know there are tons of fantastic bands and awesome independent record labels, shout out to Rise Above for putting out some of the very best, including this one, but to get my attention in this beginning to be oversaturated market.. ya need to do some shit right. Nothing out of this world, just killer and right. I often find myself saying why don’t I just listen to Sabbath or Candlemass or whatever classic band instead? Well that’s because when the newer bands do it right, they REALLY do it right for me. It’s like the most refreshing thing. Newer “doom” bands like Uncle Acid, Electric Wizard, Lucifer do it right. And of course the classics like Cathedral, Sleep, Withcfinder General, Graveyard, Saint Vitus… etc.. they do it right. Every “new” band that pops up to me cant seem to surpass these guys and they all get lost in the weed smoke, blood, and head banging dust of this scene, with the exception of a few. After several spins of “Coven’s Will,” I’ve come to the conclusion that Witchskull is undoubtedly an exception.
What makes Witchskull stand out like an evil thumb is just that, the evil and darkness. I've found that they really put their own dark spin on groovy riffs and doom tunes, which really makes their music interesting. They seem to hook you with a heavy, hard-hitter riff, i.e. “The Raven.” That being the albums completely coffin-rattling opener that wont get out of your head sucks you completely into the the subsequent track, “Son of the Snake.” Witchskull successfully puts you under their spell and takes you for a slithery and doomy ride into worlds unknown.
“Snake” being a real badass, bass thick heavy and gross, groove tune; the next one takes that trip to a dark and psychedelic realm with “Priestess.” This a a real sludge-inspired zombie dance of a track.. riddled with darkness, wails, screams, and haunting harmonies from vocalist, Marcus De Pasquale while SIMULTANEOUSLY FUCKING SHREDDING GUITAR on the entire record (hats off to you, man); Tony McMahon LAYING DOWN bass like a madman, and the stick work of the devil himself Joel Green on drums; this makes it for my pick for favorite track. The rest of the album follows suit, every member just rocks to hell and back on this and it shows that they ain’t no spring chickens. Witchskull knows what they’re doing. And they’re here to fuck shit up, as they say. The next couple tracks “Breathing Blue Lightning” continues with the hard hitting psych-doom, “Demon Cage” has my vote for riff of the year, and “Spyres” sets the place on fire with the upbeat tempo, climbing and grooving guitar, and wails Dio would salute. The final two tracks “Lord of the Void” and the closer and longest track, “The Empty Well,” seem to work together to build a musical labyrinth and Witchskull are guides through the twist, turns, dips, punches, and spells they have summoned for you. These tracks I feel like truly showcase Witchskull’s song writing ability to throw catchiness, heaviness, droning and depressing doom, sadness, confusion, and fury, literally all into one and have it come out masterfully. I couldn’t recommend this record enough to those fans of the classic doom or modern worship doom bands, ill put it right up there with the best of them.
Rock Rating: 4/5 Gym Rating: 4/5
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