"God Curse Us"

By Earthdog

British trio Witchsorrow play classic doom that is partly stoner, partly traditional but very much in the Black Sabbath meets Reverend Bizarre / Electric Wizard mold. It goes without saying that we here at Doommantia love the classic sounds but Witchsorrow's greatest downfall is they sound too much like these bands without having any real identity of their own. It is a problem because all the songs are great except maybe one but you need to block out all the bands they successfully emulate to fully appreciate this release. As time rolls on and this album gets more reviews, this will be the main gripe you will hear from reviewers, I am sure. Moving on however, you have to judge an album on its own merits and this is pretty close to the standard of the début which was in my opinion one of the best début doom albums of all time. Sure it sounded like Electric Wizard but a great riff is a great riff and Witchsorrow know how to play them. 'God Curse Us' is no exception; it is a no-holds barred assault of crushing but hook-filled riffing and smokey, atmospheric vibes.

One thing I have come across this year more so than in the past is albums that seem to start with the worst track. This album does that too, 'Aurora Atra' is an average track by Witchsorrow standards compared with what else is on the album and it has a stock-standard dull doom riff which doesn't exactly give out much hope for the rest of the record. It is typical Reverend Bizarre meets early Cathedral worship but as the album plays on, it soon gets better. In fact the entire remainder of the album is very good. From the title track through to the closing 'Den of Serpents' Witchsorrow deliver a dark, crushingly heavy traditional doom album that is surprisingly catchy despite its plodding, slightly repetitive concepts. The vocals are also in the Reverend Bizarre vein with hints of Lee Dorrian and are not really exciting but they fit the music perfectly. The band play with a great deal of passion and you can hear that these guys + one girl love their doom metal. There is a certain spark within the songs that tells the listener, they enjoy what they are doing and that is great to hear from any band.

Every song on 'God Curse Us' has at least one passage where you think...fuck, this is heavy. The monolithic crawl they unleashed is hypnotic at times but again, and I hate to say this again and again, but you can trace every moment back to another song from another band. They did this on their début album too so two albums in a row of paying homage to the same classic doom bands can seem like overkill after a while. There is not much you can say about this album except if you like who they are influenced by and have no problem with hearing a band basically doing the same thing, then you should love this. For the more picky listener, it might seem a bit too much like a tribute album to the doom greats. There are killer riffs however and the analog production is top class, just turn your mind away from the non-originality and you will get some mileage out of this album from Witchsorrow. ....8/10.

PS: If this band was original, they would be close to the greatest doom band on the planet. I hope they can find their own identity with their next release.