WITCHCRYER - Cry Witch
Like it or tolerate it, doom is foundational. Youthful encounters with groups such as Black Sabbath, Witchfinder General, & the oft-neglected Pagan Altar established in myself & many others a love for doom &, more significantly, a love for the metalverse at large. When a new band comes along playing similar tunes to the progenitors of heavy, it is easy to wash them off as mere nostalgia-core. It is with this wariness that I approached Witchcryer--needlessly, as it turns out. Despite obvious roots in a 50-year-old sound, these texan occult rockers have created something inexplicably fresh to call their own.
All elements work together exceedingly well. The hefty bass paves a path of irresistible groove, & the riffs mosey with a deadly combination of down-to-business swagger & infectious charm. The fingerprints (in a manner of speaking) of Vol. 4 - Never Say Die era Iommi are all over this album, but would we want our classic riffage any other way? Iommi has stated that his approach to composition changed while writing Heaven in Hell, in that RJD sang melodically across the riff, whereas Ozzy sang directly over them. It is to Suzy Bravo’s credit is that she handily does both, providing an element of complexity and maturity that is difficult to find in ye doom of olde. Ranging from a somber croon (The Preying Kind) to a raspy scream (Ma Kali), Bravo’s emotive vocals are what truly makes Witchcryer a fiery force in the proto-doom sphere. Lastly, while it often feels that the best compliment one can bestow upon a drummer is that they do an effective job without being particularly noticeable, Javi Moctezuma’s choice to ride the cymbals through choruses perfectly compliments Bravo’s stellar voice.
Normally brevity isn’t a cause for disappointment, but given the Witchfinder & (sorta) Sabbath cover, original Witchcryer is precious content. Another hard-hitting tune after the acoustic closer would have left the album on a slightly stronger note. This may be a moot point, however, as an appropriate reaction to reaching the end is simply taking it from the top.
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