Witchsorro­w

HEXENHAMME­R CAN­DLE­LIGHT/SPINE­FARM

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Albums -

DOOM METAL TRA­DI­TION­AL­ISTS REVEL IN THE END OF THE WORLD

UK DOOM TRIO

Witchsorro­w have been steadily refin­ing their sound with each suc­ces­sive al­bum, cul­mi­nat­ing in 2015’s tow­er­ing, an­themic

No Light, Only Fire.

It was dif­fi­cult to see how they were go­ing to top that record, but new opus Hexenhamme­r chis­els their lum­ber­ing morass into an even more ef­fi­cient beast. The band’s gru­elling tour­ing sched­ule over the last few years has ev­i­dently paid off, as they sound tighter and punchier than ever here, es­pe­cially on more up­tempo, unashamedl­y metal­lic bangers like The Devil’s Throne and Eter­nal – a track that aug­ments its mo­lasses-thick grooves with bouncy, Ju­das Priest-es­que verses. Witchsorro­w have never been one of those bands to favour amp wor­ship over good old-fash­ioned song­writ­ing skills, and their com­po­si­tional mus­cle just seems to get tauter ev­ery year; songs like The Parish might sound ut­terly suf­fo­cat­ing when you’re in the midst of them, but you’ll still find your­self singing them in the shower after­wards.

Work­ing once again with pro­ducer ex­traor­di­naire Chris Field­ing, the al­bum boasts a dense, boom­ing pro­duc­tion with some se­ri­ously sat­is­fy­ing low-end fre­quen­cies, and a crisp, thunderous drum sound that helps these song hit home even harder. Gui­tarist Ne­croskull turns in his most vit­ri­olic, ag­gres­sive vo­cal per­for­mance yet, too, al­ter­nat­ing be­tween pained, hate­ful roars and soar­ing hooks on flat­ten­ing cen­tre­piece De­mons Of The Mind, a song that has ‘fu­ture live favourite’ writ­ten all over it.

At a lean 43 min­utes, Hexenhamme­r is the most po­tent dis­til­la­tion of the Witchsorro­w sound to date, while hint­ing at ex­cit­ing new ter­ri­tory for the three-piece; final track Like Sisy­phus flirts with sin­is­ter, psy­che­delic gui­tar lines be­fore erupt­ing in a flurry of blast­beats and chill­ing tremolo riffs. With their ded­i­ca­tion to vin­tage metal songcraft shin­ing through each omi­nous note, this is yet an­other tri­umph for one of doom metal’s most com­mit­ted con­tem­po­rary stan­dard-bear­ers.

FOR FANS OF: ELEC­TRIC WIZ­ARD, SAINT VI­TUS, CATHE­DRAL

KEZ WHE­LAN

Witchsorro­w cel­e­brate an­other tri­umph

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