Old Witch - Come Mourning Come
Sun & Moon Records
Funeral Doom
6 songs (36' 10")
Release year: 2013
Reviewed by Andy
Surprise of the month

Canadian doom one-man show Old Witch was introduced to me as a re-release by a "small batch" label (Sun & Moon Records) that specializes in low-quantity, high-quality dark releases. I don't usually say much about the labels who give us these promos, but if Old Witch's debut, Come Mourning Come, is part of their master plan, it must be a hell of a good plan. You can forget about hearing melancholia on this album; slow and crushing though it might be, this is no sorrowful march to the burial ground, but a rage-filled scream of loss.

Funeral Rain starts the album off, after a slow static/feedback buildup, with riffs that would do justice to a Conan or Indian album. Blunt and heavy on the bass, they walk deliberately over the listener's sensibilities with the impersonal destructiveness of a giant robot, but there is an atmospheric loneliness to them that reminds me of early Burzum, of all things. That feeling persists on This Land Has Been Cursed, which starts with buzz-filled synthesizer notes, with the lurking beast of the guitar feedback hiding out in the background. The throat-shredding vocals, shrieked by jack-of-all-trades Stephen Heyerdahl, are on the raw edge of the black metal vocal spectrum, but die down to a whisper with God Ov Wolves, which is even slower and more crushingly deliberate in its feedback blast. It only lasts five minutes, but it feels much longer -- in a good way.

After a four-minute instrumental solo (half of it bookended by a humming guitar just barely held in check), we get The Frost and the Tyrant, which is faster but both more mechanized and more melodic than the rest. The melody uses some strange chords, just at the edge of atonality, that I especially liked, echoing with a huge, cosmic sound. The final track, Olde Spyrits Haunt the Thickets, brings in clean singing faded to the point that one can't catch the words, with the same big riffs the rest of the album uses, still echoing, but also clean until the inevitable buildup of distortion picks up the tune and carries it for a few more steps, interrupted every few minutes by a few inexorable notes from the bass. The tune keeps descending till the bassline's practically subsonic.

Needless to say from the above, I really liked this one. The atmosphere on here alone is worth a good rating, but paired with that kind of heaviness, it's truly killing. This is a fine debut and reveals a project worthy of more attention in the future.

Bandcamp: http://oldwitch.bandcamp.com/album/come-mourning-come.

Killing Songs :
All -- though I liked This Land Has Been Cursed the best
Andy quoted 86 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 0 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:18 pm
View and Post comments