Witchsorrow – No Light, Only Fire

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For all the crushing, Iommi-like riffs, occasionally rampaging pace, and seemingly universal homage, the trouble with No Light, Only Fire (Candlelight Records), the third album from Hampshire heavyweights Witchsorrow, is the lack of both atmosphere and identity. Often prosaic structures negate the undeniable power and weight of the tracks and although the sinister crawl of ‘The Martyr’ and ‘Negative Utopia’ has the sinister feel of pure Electric Wizard-esque horror about it, the sound is too often uninspired and subsequently robbed of some of the punishing might one expects.

Nick ‘Necroskull’ Ruskell is at times a vocal ringer for Jus Oborn, and similarly tries to project his well-known despair and loathing for modern life through his medium. Despite an oft decent, sonorous roar, sadly his gravelled emanations are somewhat limited in range and depth: the epic ‘…Utopia’ sees a titanic performance from the rhythm section, its supremely squalling leads also deserving of a better vocal performance than the stunted bellow in evidence. As is the filthy, horrific crawl of the standout ‘Disaster Reality’ and the primitive rumble of ‘To the Gallows’.

It’s not impossible to fathom the album’s many plaudits. There’s a largely fiery nature to the music: the blend of devilish Doom and NWOBHM patterns grooving into the mind, the almost psychedelic riffs of ‘Made of the Void’ creating a warm cocoon from the evil intent outside, while Necroskull’s solo work is staggering throughout. His earthshaking riffs are also very reminiscent of the Wizard, and maybe this is part of the problem.

There’s a glut of wonderful, imaginative Low-end stuff out there right now…and even more copycat-style, slightly above average thundering.  There is a real beastliness to much of this album, perfectly embodied by epic closer ‘De Mysteriis Doom Sabbathas’: a slow, prime slice of Sabbath at their finest with some incredible leadwork. This monstrous power may ensure that the album grows more attractive after repeated listens but the heavily derivative sound, together with Ruskell’s vocal limitations, sees it fall short of the lofty expectations created by the panegyric heaped upon Witchsorrow’s very name over the last couple of years.

 

6.5/10

 

PAUL QUINN

Damnation Fest (UK) Adds Six More To LineUp

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US sludge outfit Black Tusk and English post-rock act maybeshewill  have been added to Damnation Festival.

They’ll be joined at Leeds University Union on Saturday 7 November by a selection of some of the UK’s best rising death, doom and black talent; namely The King Is Blind, Witchsorrow and Voices.

And making their debut UK performance will be Belgian black metal trio Wiegedood.

The six new additions join a packed and diverse roster already boasting At The Gates, High On Fire, Mono, Asphyx, Solstafir and a posthumous return to live action from the much missed Altar of Plagues. 

With eight bands still to be announced and capacity reduced by 1,000 tickets in response to fans’ concerns about overcrowding last year, it promises to be an 11th instalment of Damnation Festival to remember.

Tickets are on sale now priced £36 from the Damnation Festival website and Facebook page.

Audio: Prophets of Saturn – Retronaut

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British psych metallers Prophets of Saturn is streaming “Retronaut,” off of their self titled debut out July 17, 2015 via HeviSike Records. The band have also announced a string of upcoming live dates.

Jul 17: Chameleon Arts Café – Nottingham (UK) (with Witchsorrow and Iron Void)
Aug 01: The Rigger – Newcastle-Under-Lyme (UK)(with Trippy Wicked & The Cosmic Children of The Knight and Space Witch)

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Electric Wizard – Satan’s Satyrs – Shazzula – Witchsorrow: Live at The Ritz, Manchester UK

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Witchsorrow play to a sparse crowd, but still manage to kick up a storm. Nick Ruskell churns out barbaric slabs of distortion while bassist Emily and drummer David make a perfect partnership in more ways than one. Rivalling Jus Oborn and Liz Buckingham’s partnership in manner in which they communicate so exquisitely with each other.

This powerful compact performance is more than Shazzula can muster. Solo member atmospheric drone doom projects can prove tricky to translate in the live arena and while the accompanying feature film on the back screen helps provide the nocturnal 70s horror ambience this lady is looking for one the organ subsides it is clear that fiddling with an effects unit fails to conjure up hideously introspective feelings of foreboding. In more intimate surrounding this may prove more effective but for now this is a languid trip that few are buying into.

Satan’s Satyrs fully embrace their occult metal heritage featuring vocals very reminiscent of Ozzy Osbourne. ‘Show Me Your Skull’ has some ballsy riffs but other than that there are not a great deal of hooks to draw you in.

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Eerie sound of thunder and the garish projections fill the stage as ‘Witchcult Today’ announces the arrival of Dorset’s Electric Wizard. The second departure of sticksman Tim Bagshaw and subsequent reintroduction of Simon Poole sees a tighter more efficient outfit which should hope to dispel recent memories of sloppy performances.

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For the most part the set flows like molten lava; relentless and constant. Material from new opus Time To Die (Spinefarm) is consistent with the band’s early work, mining the depths of paranoia and subterfuge to compelling effect. Enveloped by a cloak of Hammer Horror psychedelia Wizard are at times mesmerising yet the cavernous venue doesn’t seem prepared for the bombastic showing with tonight’s set being quieter than some of their recent outings.

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While the wheels don’t come off tonight, we don’t escape a snafu in the sound department when Jus Oborn’s amp blows up during ‘Funeralopolis’. Luckily Nick Ruskell is on hand to supply his equipment, but Oborn looks pissed off at this slight interruption. Soon enough the black tar riffage cut through the PA allowing the show to be brought to a cathartic climax. Not the triumph the band would have hoped for but in places Wizard showed capable of transfixing an audience who shall surely be ushered into their loyal Supercoven.

Electric Wizard (4)

 

 

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WORDS: ROSS BAKER

PHOTOS: LUKE DENHAM PHOTOGRAPHY

Dreams From The Depths – An Interview With Moss

Moss1A figurehead of British doom, Moss have just released their third full length; the long awaited Horrible Night. Olly Pearson (vocals) delves with Ghost Cult into the band’s ethos of steering clear of digital formatting within music, alongside adopting a more traditional approach to their sound. Continue reading