Austin doom power Witchcryer unleash tales of generational divinities with ‘When Their Gods…’

From the time human civilization could tell stories, there have been tales about the gods. Every civilization has them from the Vikings to the Greeks to the Romans, and so many people have had their lives shaped by the essence of these mythologies. Many of them endure today—sometimes to our detriment—and those stories have been a part of heavy metal lore from the start.

Austin-based doom quartet Witchcryer jumped headfirst into the tales of the deities on their excellent new record “When Their Gods Come for You,” an eight-track collection that is powerful and sultry, their finest moment so far. This concept piece visits with the aforementioned sagas we’ve heard from multiple civilizations throughout history, touching on Faustian tales, Anglo-Saxon and Greek stories, and even the origin of the Blackfoot creation god among a rich batch of tracks that open up all kinds of portals. The band—vocalist/lyricist Suzy Bravo, guitarist Jason Muxlow, bassist Marilyn, drummer Javi Moctezuma—maintain a doom baseline but push that in other directions, mixing in bluesy steam and even some power metal stomp into this killer collection.

“The Devil & the Deep Blue See” opens with some dark energy and Bravo’s powerful vocals, all circulating in a strange sheen. The bass unloads and the riffs tangle, the verses are just killer, and things bubble up, rounding back as the song sinks in its last dagger. “Hellmouth” pummels as the guitars chug, slaying as Bravo’s vocals slip into psychedelic power. The chorus is simple but effective, one that’ll be huge live, and the playing is smoking, delivering gut punches that send ripples and bury you in that energy. “Sisyphus, Holy Roller” has guitars churning and a daring pace, with Bravo declaring, “I am your holy roller, baby.” The track delves partially in doom rock but also in bluesy allure as Bravo promises, “I can give you what you want, I can set you free,” calling out before the song punches away.  “Nemesis, the Inevitable” feels dangerous and dark, letting things get steamy before Bravo wails, “I am vengeance and retribution,” and later jabbing, “I will take you down.” The pace keeps picking up, getting more sinister and stirring, driving you into hellish waves that rips out into huge amounts of power.

“Quetzalcoatl” starts with Aztec chants before the energy kicks in, feeling a little like an Iron Maiden battle anthem. The theme of fighting for one’s people permeates this track as Bravo calls, “They knew their time was ending, prepare to die with dignity,” as the band keeps adding fuel to the fire, making your blood surge as the fighters are paid the ultimate homage. “I Rise!” has slick bluesy leads and pummeling verses, with the dirt kicked straight into your mouth. The chorus soars, the band thickens the mud flow, and the track ends with a fiery, great finish. “Blackfoot Creation Story/Spirit Power” has warm psyche riffs and Native American-style melodies that get into your cells and fill you with that spirit. It’s an ancient storyteller on a record full of great tales, touching on the theme of passing on tradition to the next generation and calling out the “big black bird,” with Bravo pleading, “With the strength of your wings, lift me up,” as the track ends in solemnity. The title track ends the record with a slow-driving, bass-driving pace and leads that just fly for the sun. Bravo delivers a warning about retribution as she cuts, “The righteous fall just like the fools,” a sobering thought for us all. The track is defiant and sweltering, the guitars burn brightly, and the track ends in smoldering piles of ash.

Witchcryer really catapult themselves into a new level with “When Their Gods Come for You,” an absolute blast of an album that gets better with every listen. Bravo’s vocals and lyrics are a real highlight, as she’s stepping forward as one of the great voices in metal, and the rest of the band more than hold their own, lighting fires and tending them to make these tracks explode. This is one hell of a strong effort, one that should jerk open eyes and ears everywhere to this awesome doom force.

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