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Witchcryer – When Their Gods Come For You Award winner

Witchcryer
When Their Gods Come For You
by Kenn Staub at 07 October 2021, 1:01 PM

WITCHCRYER describe themselves as a four-piece traditional doom metal band. The Austin, TX-based (USA) quartet trace their musical lineage back to bands such as BLACK SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE, URIAH HEEP, and BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, as well as, more recently, WITCHFINDER GENERAL, TROUBLE, and ST. VITUS. “When Their Gods Come For You” (released August 20, 2021), the group’s second full-length effort, is conceptual in nature, featuring songs about gods across various ages of civilization. According to vocalist/lyricist Suzy Bravo, “this is the album I’ve been writing in my head my entire life.”

The BLACK SABBATH influence is clearly heard on the album’s opening two tracks, “The Devil & The Deep Blue See” and “Hellmouth,” respectively. Musically both are down-tuned, bass-driven, dense slices of distorted, methodically-played doom. “The Devil & The Deep Blue See” has an interesting, almost industrial intro that establishes the track’s overall ominous tone. “Hellmouth” is predicated on a chugging rhythm line underlying the melody and is highlighted by Jason Muxlow’s spacey solo. On both numbers, Bravo’s echoey vocals are hauntingly anguished; reinforcing the tracks’ sinister nature.

Sisyphis, Holy Roller” is about the Greek king who Zeus punished for twice cheating death, forcing him to roll a bolder up a hill. Because the boulder would roll down every time Sisyphis had almost accomplished the task, Zeus essentially condemned him to an eternity of labor. In short, I LOVED this heavy metal work song and think it will be killer live! Not as doomy in its tonality, “Sisyphis, Holy Roller” has a funky swagger, while Bravo’s clear vocals had me singing along with the simple, but effective chorus (“I am the Holy Roller baby”). The song shifts stylistically about halfway through, transitioning from Sisyphis’s perspective to that of Zeus. A cool feature of the track were the percussive accents, which Javi Moctezuma deploys to great effect on this and several other numbers; including, “Nemesis, The Inevitable,” “I Rise!,” and “Blackfoot Creation Story/Spirit Power.”

The acoustic guitar intro to “Nemesis, The Inevitable,” though gentle, carries with it an added unsettling undertone thanks to the intricate bass line Marilyn plays underneath. It’s a track centered on a god’s slow building anger, the intensity of the music and vocal performance ratcheting up until WITCHCRYER unleashes full hellfire about half/three-quarters of the way through. WITCHCRYER taps into more traditional hard rock on “Quetzalcoatl” and “I Rise!” “Quetzalcoatl,” about the Aztec deity of life, light, and wisdom, lord of the day and wind, begins with largely unaccompanied chanting before an outstanding riff leads into the “electric portion” of the track. In some respects, the song’s up tempo nature evokes thrash, albeit played with a doom/groove sensibility. “I Rise!” also introduces the listener to a great riff and is built on an interesting repeating line. The solos Muxlow plays on each have a bluesy feel.

Blackfoot Creation Story/Spirit Power” is just that, the Great Plains tribe’s tale of origin. The track has a hypnotic, sludgy, psychedelic feel. Its well-layered rhythm is mesmerizing, made even more so by Bravo’s singing/chanting vocal performance. The “Spirit Power” portion is nothing short of a flashback to the 1960s; a sweat lodge-induced, trippy, fever dream of sound and word. The eponymous closer is, perhaps, one of the most beautifully rendered angry songs I’ve heard. There is, initially, a gentleness to the sound which does a slow burn, becoming denser and angrier as the tune progresses. Bravo’s vocals are almost angelic for somebody singing about the doom which awaits the righteous and fools alike.

This album impressed me on so many levels; vocally, instrumentally, lyrically, stylistically. At times it was difficult to interpret exactly what I heard. This isn’t a bad thing, however, because, with so much interesting going on throughout, I have the perfect excuse (as if I needed one) to continually re-listen to the album. Bravo’s vocal performance is exemplary and varied, Muxlow adroitly handles both rhythm and lead, Marilyn must have fingers of steel based on the huge bottom end he establishes, and Moctezuma can set the pace and provide percussive flavor. In sum, “When Their Gods Come For You” is the product of a cohesive band firing on all cylinders, putting out the perfect sound for the genre they are representing.

Musicianship: 10
Songwriting: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Devil & The Deep Blue See
2. Hellmouth
3. Sisyphis, Holy Roller
4. Nemesis, The Inevitable
5. Quetzalcoatl
6. I Rise!
7. Blackfoot Creation Story/Spirit Power
8. When Their Gods Come For You
Lineup:
Suzy Bravo – Vocals
Jason Muxlow – Guitar
Marilyn – Bass
Javi Moctezuma – Drums
Record Label: Ripple Music
     


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