Witchsorrow
No Light, Only Fire
(Candlelight)

On their third LP in five years, Witchsorrow cement their standing as masters of English horror soaked doom. I know it seems hard to decipher stand out bands in a world where every few steps you trip over a doom band. But Witchsorrow are the real deal; embracing their roots and plodding through fuzzy, molasses drenched riffs. No light, Only Fire calls upon classics like Saint Vitus and Reverend Bizarre to propel this macabre sound, as the Hammer Film imagery and darkened atmosphere are projected in the minds of the fanbase.

The flickering candle on the damp stone wall of the castle illuminates the listener’s imagination. Nick Ruskell (Nekroskull) has sharpened his storytelling. He is unabashedly going for the lore that permeates the English countryside in which he lives. The expected imagery provides much fodder for Ruskell to embellish. Witchsorrow conjure thick, dark, sinister riffs. Chris Fielding (of Conan) extracts an opaque tapestry with his production. The first few tracks rumble and release their rampage. Fielding’s expertise is noticeable. “The Martyr” is a quick favorite. But the waving guitar of the title track opener, teasing us over drums pounding, set the tone. This is a nod to Iommi, a quick salute. However, Witchsorrow immediately stake their claim of originality. This will be no facsimile.

The feeling is evident that Witchsorrow are most secure in the slower churning riffs of supernatural doom. “Negative Utopia” and “Disaster Reality” suffocate the speakers as sorcery and cynicism seep. However, they also execute the gritty gallop expertly on the rambunctious, “To The Gallows”. A dark knell of follicle synchronicity will wave in unison to this six minute banger. The subject matter does not always reap from fantasy and ghoulish topics, but it is consistently pessimistic and misanthropic, reveling in humanity’s worst traits.

Emily Witch and James Morrell provide the foundation with their syncopated treachery. Their grinding rhythms pull and twist at the audience’s cerebral and visceral stability. This album is a downer, wrenching from low end mastery. Their ability to pummel with a thick riff impacts you as well as their deliberate minimalism. Their weapons are there for them to choose wisely. And they always do.

Miring in disgust and vile exhibitions, the songs of death and misery and punishment are celebrated triumphantly in these tracks of treachery. As tracks pass ten and twelve minutes, the band’s patience pays off each time. An expected respite of an acoustic minute is appreciated before the behemoth fourteen minute closer, “De Mysteriis Doom Sabbathas”. The final song taps into the Iommi guitar homage again. As WItchsorrow now resides with Candlelight, unlike the prior two on Rise Above, we feel they are at home with a blistering confidence. The band knows how to exemplify the best attributes of the forefathers but equally forge their own path. (Hutch)

RIYL: Saint Vitus, Trouble, Black Sabbath, Reverend Bizarre, Angel Witch, Witchfinder General

Purchase No Light, Only Fire here.

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