Witchkiss – The Austere Curtains Of Our Eyes

There’s always a grimacing thrill from within when a new doom record is released. And the kind of lasting doom that stains your skin with grief and agony is hard to come by. The debut release of New York dwellers Witchkiss, The Austere Curtains of our Eyes (Argonauta Records), has sparked a lot of heavy anticipation and curiosity in the community and rightfully so. This body of work has been a long time in the making with partners Scott Prater and Amber Burns spearheading vocals, guitar, and drums along with Anthony DiBlasi on bass. And the result is definitely worth your attention.

The start of the ‘A Crippling Wind’ commands your ears with all its glorified despair. With howls that speak of false hope and broken bones, a chilly atmosphere is created to infuse the body and mind. The mechanical style is resemblant of SUMAC and their uncanny technicality. ‘Blind Faith’, the longest composition on the record, and ‘Spirits of the Dirt’ both leave a lasting impression with its stripped-down structure and riffage, oozing of SubRosa and Neurosis. The 2 completely unplugged tracks, ‘Death Knell’ and ‘A Harrowing Solace’, are so stunningly gorgeous and are a welcoming change amidst sludge and doom. The delicate and ghostly vocal harmonies amongst the backdrop of vibrant acoustics are enough to give you chills that will last for weeks.

There are parts within various tracks that may come off a bit dry due to either repetition going on too long or lack of variety. The midway point of ‘A Crippling Wind’ and various points within ‘Seer’ show proof as such. But this is not to say that the riffs aren’t intriguing enough because they are more than worthy of dwelling in. It just can lose fire at times.

The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes’ is a solid debut album that stands strong in its raw musicianship and naked production. It’s going to be something else watching Witchkiss progress and come into their sound with their next release.