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God Curse Us

Rise Above (2012)
Rating: 5/10

Witchsorrow’s sophomore album, God Curse Us, is upon us. After turning heads with their 2010 self-titled debut, their reverb heavy, fuzz-laden, slow grooves return with an album that feels like what it must be like for younger folks to discover Black Sabbath in modern times. While it feels like Sabbath more than it should, the vocals and massive plodding remind us that the music is created out of context and it struggles to find a place for itself.

God Curse Us features seven epic tunes that modern pigeonholers (like myself) would probably say borders on funeral doom. Like Candlemass or early Agalloch, it holds itself together just enough to not be labelled as “experimental” or “unlistenable”. The lone track possibly breaking the rule here is the ten minute plus ‘Megidddo’, which slowly takes the form of a song while breaking in and out of contrived sounding incantations.

‘Den of Serpents’ is very similar sounding but pulls it together a little better, adding some extreme metal elements to the vocals that make your ears perk up a bit. ‘Aurora Atra’ has a mid-tempo sludge about it that blends perfectly with the cutting guitars and strangled sounding lead work, lending credence to the idea that this UK band has the potential to become so much more.

The title track is dark and dreary storytelling done well, making you feel depressed and embracing those lonely feelings you get at late night parties where everyone’s a pisser. ‘Breaking The Lore’ is the only uptempo moment here (reminds me a bit of Grand Magus and Firebird) and it’s not hard to tell that the band can certainly knock it out of the park if they’d just expand their horizons a little bit.

At the end of the day, this album struggles to keep your attention. The long songs just plod along without any sort of dynamic breaks and it’s hard to focus on them when basically nothing is happening. Like I said though, there are also a few songs that make you wonder if this band doesn’t have something a lot better in their fiery bellies. What this album really has going for it the most is superb production work, the band sounds very much alive and each instrument is distinct enough to showcase itself but is also melted into the others just enough to remind you that they are a “band” in the most traditional sense.

Overall, God Curse Us is average at best, but Witchsorrow as a band may be someone to pay attention to in the not so distant future.

Mark Fisher

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