Dead Witches/Witchthroat Serpent – Doom Sessions Vol 666 Split EP
Heavy Psych Sounds
Released Date 18/06/2021
Running Time: 31:41
Review by Dark Juan
The baleful, screaming yellow eye in the sky above Yorkshire is trying to kill me. It bathes me in rays that cause me to scurry for the nearest black cover I can find and cower there, helpless before its puissance and wait until it turns its ferocious gaze to another victim. I cannot glare my defiance at it as it sears my retinas with its endless hatred and neither can I offer it any physical resistance whatsoever as it burns me from afar before I can plunge my fingers into its ocular cavity and scoop out the terrible, fiery beast. Far better, then, to remain in Dark Juan Terrace and lock the door and bid defiance to the horror from without. Except the fucking smellhounds have to be walked and I have to go to the post office and I have to endure the vile, sweaty unpleasantness that comes with the three days of the sun that constitutes a British summer. Mrs. Dark Juan, however, is soaking up the diabolical radiation as she creates a model of a witch transforming into a hare (which is a thing according to Yorkshire folklore, and, fact fans, the British were-animal is in fact the werehare, thereby proving that Britain is a bit shit in most respects, not least in were-animals. I mean even a were-weasel would be better than a jumped up rabbit analogue, would it not?) and once more terrifies the neighbours and the good people of Facebook when she posts pictures of them on it.
So, in a desperate attempt to escape the pasty-legged denizens of fair Halifax wearing voluminous shorts, I have elected instead to remain indoors and listen to the heavy, heavy sounds of doom heavyweights Dead Witches (dragged screaming from the mind of the estimable, and admirably sideburned and flared trousered Mark Greening who you may know from Electric Wizard, Ramesses and With The Dead and Witchthroat Serpent, who are French doommeisters and who unaccountably have not arrested my attention before. As this is an EP, I shall follow my usual style and detail each song briefly…
Dead Witches… Now there’s a name to conjure with, especially if you are a Lancastrian like me and your home county is famous for hanging wise women and having jumped up trials in Pendle, which got people killed on the word of a disturbed child. ‘D.I.E.’ is the name of the song DW have offered to this EP, and it is a mere 14 minutes in length and it is superfuzz overload. It is riff after orgasmic riff, underpinned with what can only be described as fucking diabolical bass, such is the subterranean rumble that has turned my brain to fluid not unlike a chunky salsa, and my brain to a jellylike, pliable substance. This is Heaviness with a capital H, dear friends. This is heavier than every single one of your female relatives wearing neutronium lingerie, standing on a plutonium plinth and swinging lead handbags at your noggin. The sound of the song is a colossal, soupy, drug-fuelled and fuzzy at the edges mix that is as huge as the running time. Special mention must be made of vocalist Spring Thompson, who adds an unexpected punk edge to the proceedings with her highly charged, furious vocal delivery. In short – even though it is 14 minutes long, ‘D.I.E.’ is a supremely coherent piece of ultrasludgy doom that easily holds your interest and is riff nirvana. You can tell Mark is behind it all, being the doom megastar that he is, but reigning in the more extreme sound of Electric Wizard for something a little bit more listenable. This is very very good indeed, and the worthy French band following them have a real class act to live up to.
…And live up to them they do. Even though I have lived in France, until I started writing for Ever-Metal.com I had considered the French metal scene to barely exist, yet by God our neighbours over the water have cranked out some magnificently violent stuff in Dirge (fucking awesome), Obzson Geschopf (industrial madhead obsessed with new jack hip hop), Rostres (drone perfection), P.H.O.B.O.S (possibly the heaviest industrial record ever to exist in “Phlogiston Catharsis”), Escotrilihum (one man, utterly utterly demented black metal) and now Toulouse-based Witchthroat Serpent. The French bruisers contribute two tracks to this EP – ‘The Fall Of Whitewood’ and ‘Cyanide Laced-Flavour’ (they used the American spelling but I speak the correct form of English and therefore will also spell it correctly too) [Mr. Juan should know that if it is a song/album title or band name that shouldn’t be done so it is ‘Cyanide Laced-Flavor’. I shall take the whip to him later – Rick] and it has to be said that they are easily up to the weight of their British partners on this record. Riffs of monolithic chunkiness extend into colossal grooves and just keep on fucking going, taking you ever deeper into realms of mystical mescaline-fuelled splendour. The bass on both tracks (which are incidentally linked with close to two minutes of screaming feedback [electric alchemy – just another reason why doom is so good. They can use even the squealing of a feedbacking guitar to continue the colossal grooves] underpinned by a slowly building rhythm section) is sludgier than a day out at Davyhulme Sewage Treatment Works (if you’ve ever been over Barton Bridge on the M60 around Manchester you’ve smelled it) and has gone beyond mere fuzz into theoretical places where only hyperfuzz exists. It also has more bottom end than several dozen busloads of twerking, miniskirted pissheads in Gateshead on a Saturday night. The drumming is tight and multifaceted and the two tunes link and complement each other perfectly. The vocalist is also top notch as he wails and howls over the endless infinity groove.
All three of these songs are doom done right. None of them have any faults whatsoever. Which is annoying because I love picking holes in stuff and being rude about bands. What? Relax, I’m only joking, you muppets. I love the music and the bands and the people in them. I’m firm but fair, mate.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Le système breveté de notation des éclaboussures de sang Dark Juan pour nos amis français – de rien!) cannot help but award the full beans 10/10 to both Dead Witches (doing Blighty proud) and Witchthroat Serpent (you have won a lifelong fan in me, messieurs) for a masterclass in fucking perfect doom metal from each side of the channel. Magnifique!!
Dead Witches – ‘D.I.E.’ (Dragged Into Emptiness) (Official Video)
Witchthroat Serpent – ‘ The Fall Of Whitewood’ (Official Audio)
01. Die – Dead Witches
02. The Fall Of Whitewood – Witchthroat Serpent
03. Cyanide Laced-Flavor – Witchthroat Serpent
Mark Greening – Drums & Concussion
Rab McIlrath – Guitars
Sam Cutbush – Bass
Spring Thompson – Vocals
Fredrik – Vocals & Guitars
Niko – Drums
Ügo – Bass
Djé – Guitars
DEAD WITCHES LINKS:
WITCHTHROAT SERPENT LINKS:
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