Look, I’m sorry, but we’re going to talk about the pandemic again, but it’ll be really quick and it has a pretty great ending. You remember when all the shows got canceled, right? Tours were turned to dust, fests were delayed and some eventually put on ice, and records we were anticipating ended up arriving later than we hoped. Luckily, lots of artists took the time to branch out and create.
One of those bands is Swiss doom beasts Rorcal, a group whose last record “Muladona” was gifted to me by mistake and turned out to be one of the best errors anyone ever made. That album is devastation from front to back. Rorcal also lost a host of tour dates they were expecting to support the aforementioned record, but they didn’t take the disappointment lying down. Instead, they teamed up with former bass player Bruno da Encarnação and his project Earthflesh to create “Witch Coven,” a two-track offering that melts your psyche and body to the ground. It’s a mangling and mentally rewiring record, something that corrodes and makes it feel like the earth is going to sink in on itself, causing lava to spill onto the surface and burn everything alive.
“Altars of Nothingness” opens the proceedings, a 14:45 mauler that starts with a stretch of harmonized chants that set the stage before the hammers fully drop about 2:50 into the track. Doom hisses as the growls massacre, smashing heavily everything in front of them, churning and chugging with beastly intent. Devastation and atmospheric hum unite as the static boils, and utter devastation bludgeons you and smashes your ribcage. The fires consume as the chants return, horror sprawls, and everything bleeds out. “Happiness Sucks – So Do You” finishes the album, a 15:44 monster that rises with terrifying shrieks and a black-metal-style storm that absolutely obliterates. The track is a total assault that feels like it’s cruelly dismantling your brain, bringing massive fire power and madness before a brief serenity takes hold. The tension remains as the passage crawls through darkness before animalistic fury returns, bringing hell with it. The pace bursts as crazed growls spread, the riffs rain heavily, and noise explodes, ending everything in a suffocating pile of cinder and ash.
It’s almost unfair that two forces as pummeling as Rorcal and Earthflesh are even permitted to be present on the same recording, but here we are, and every moment of “Witch Coven” is an audio nightmare and a psychological assault. It’s stupid to call a metal record heavy, but this thing goes above and beyond, and if you’re like me, you might find yourself physically taxed when this thing is over. This is an earth ripper, a union that hopefully has legs and a hellish future.
For more on Rorcal, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Rorcal
For more on Earthflesh, go here: https://www.facebook.com/earthfleshnoise
To buy the album, go here: https://hummus-records.com/product-category/pre-order/
For more on the label, go here: https://hummus-records.com/