Doom maulers Witchsorrow show more ferocious side on devastating ‘No Light, Only Fire’

Ester SegarraIf you’re a regular reader (and if you are, thanks!), you’ve probably noticed we’re gorging ourselves on doom the past few weeks. This is the best time of the year for the stuff, as the air gets colder, the summer dies, and spookiness is injected into everything. It’s just a perfect setting for doom metal, and that streak continues again today.

If there’s one major shot point most people probably made about UK doom beasts Witchsorrow, it’s that their sound draws pretty close to Electric Wizard worship. It’s not an inaccurate assessment, but that hardly disqualifies Witchsorrow from getting the proper adulation they deserve. Truth is, while they do pound and haunt in much the same manner as the aforementioned legends, this band stands on its own. Never has that been more apparent than on their fantastic new record “No Light, Only Fire.” In fact, the band clearly tries to step out of that lofty shadow and really crafts a record that shows a lot more of what Witchsorrow are capable of doing. In fact, if the band keeps going down this path, the Electric Wizard rumblings will go away, and more people will start to recognize how damn formidable this group is.

Witchsorrow coverWitchsorrow flip the script a bit on “No Light, Only Fire,” and not just for them but for doom in general. There are some shorter cuts here, a few bursts of speed, and a more aggressive pace that the band hasn’t shown quite like this in the past. It’s a nice new side of the band, though don’t worry, the storming epics are here as well. But the album is better balanced and, as noted, we get to see more of the group’s true personality. The band remains intact from the lineup that created their mammoth second record “God Curse Us,” as Necroskull is on guitars and vocals, Emily Witch is on bass, and Wilbrahammer is on drums. This is a damn fine effort, and at eight tracks, 63 minutes, it is proportioned just right.

The band gets to work on “There Is No Light, There Is Only Fire,” which starts throwing punches right away. The band shows its newfound savagery on this song, as they go for the jugular with their playing, and even Necroskull spits out his words at a faster clip. The chorus is melodic and catchy, as he cries, “Chained to these demons forevermore,” and the band ends the thing with fire. “The Martyr” runs 9:01, and it slows the pace. “Beware the man with the truth in his hand,” Necroskull warns, as the band starts sludging along. The venom just grows from there, with, “I spit at your feet!” howled, as a mass of powerful soloing arrives and takes over. There is plenty of Sabbath influences here as well, from Necroskull’s howl of, “Oh yeah!” to the mystical bludgeoning. Great track. “Made of the Void” is the one cut where the Electric Wizard feel storms back, and I say that positively. The track is murky, echoey, and full of danger as the band accelerates their body count and revels in pure ugliness. “Negative Utopia” tells you all you really need to know with its title, as the band drives the hammer of doom hard and repeatedly. The soloing bathes in psychedelic fury, and as they are “watching the planet die,” they do their damnest to help rivers of lava flow and boil you as slowly and heavily as possible.

“To the Gallows” is another shorter one that crushes pretty hard. The track is charged up, Witch’s bass gallops with a fury, and the singing is a little gruffer than other areas of the record. The soloing smears again, the band slows the doors off the thing, and the howls of, “To the death!” hit like a lightning bolt. “Disaster Reality” spills over 11:25, and it trickles coldly and wickedly at the start. The power finally opens up, as the band hits a muddy, dangerous pace, lurching and slithering while the vocals find hints of melody. The menace woven into this one is apparent, as is the detached emotion of the vocals, sounding like they’re coming from a dying soul who realizes there is no hope in the future. Necroskull notes a force that “holds you down as you die in vain,” as the power flickers and finally fades. “Four Candles” is a quick acoustic-driven instrumental that spills into the finale “De Mysteriis Doom Sabbathas,” a track that first appeared on their limited edition 2013 EP of the same name. If you’ve heard it, you know what to expect. If you haven’t, get ready for a 14:23 drubbing filled with smoke-filled tones, total Iommi worship in the devastating riffs, psychedelic electricity, and a closing shot that proves this band’s power and fearsome dominance.

It’s great to hear Witchsorrow really coming into their own and carving out a notch for themselves in doom’s gigantic fence. They really show a new kind of fire on “No Light, Only Fire” and keep building onto the carnage they’ve amassed the past decade. If this record is a true indication of the band, Witchsorrow are really just getting started, and their future should be full of bloodshed and skullduggery. I welcome that for sure.

For more on the band, go here:

To buy the album, go here:

For more on the label, go here: