Black Metal: Metal’s most infamous subgenre. The bastard son of Sabbath’s breed, Black Metal has always traded on evil and infamy. Where Black Sabbath made passing mention of Lucifer, Black Metal worships at Satan’s blood-stained altar in reverence. With this infernal DNA coursing through the genre there comes a weight of devilish expectation. Black Metal ought to terrify and perturb, it should scare the more conservative listener into a stupor. Can Wormwitch rise to this legacy?
Opening with a slickly-produced drum fill, ‘Disciple Of The Serpent Star’ wastes no time in introducing Wormwitch’s particular brand of Melodic Black Metal. The production of Heaven That Dwells Within (Prosthetic Records) has a clarity to it that allows the riffs to shine through the bleak Black Metal overtones. It keeps the album engaging and borderline catchy where it could have fallen into being another drab Emperor knock off. The effort that the trio have spent in crafting these songs does not go to waste, with each song standing out as distinct from the others, and each having their own thematic flavour.
The melodious nature of Wormwitch’s music is front and centre on the album. ‘Vernal Womb’ centres around a folk-inspired, serpentine guitar motif before barraging into blast beats and battery.
‘Spirit Braid’ has a feel of Power Metal in its pace and relatively jovial tone, providing a spot of sunshine in the record. It’s in the more melodic moments that Wormwitch stand apart from other Black Metal bands as, despite a lot of Watain worship, this is a fairly interesting take on the infernal subgenre.
The other cornerstone of this album is the sincere worship of the almighty riff. There are huge riffs all over this album that create a sonic anchor point for the listener to allow the rest of the music to coalesce. The melodic quality of this riff writing, especially the almost Iron Maidenesque ‘Iron Woman’, is infectious and makes available chance to actually sing along; a quality not often found in the blackened end of Metal’s spectrum.
A fusion of Black Metal and more traditional Heavy Metal influences may not sound like a unique proposition, but it is certainly an enjoyable one. Heaven That Dwells Within is an adeptly performed album with well-structured songs and a stirring pace. With a focus on melody rather than aurally assaulting the listener, Wormwitch have created a wonderfully listenable album, even if it is not a world beater. While proceedings may not invoke any reaction of fear or disgust, it’s actually quite pleasant for a Black Metal release, however, its plaudits are many and this is a more than satisfactory release.