Witchsorrow: Hexenhammer (2018)

Written by: Kev Rowland

Formed by frontman Necroskull and bassist Emily Witch over a decade ago (later completed by drummer Wilbrahammer), this is the fourth album from the Hampshire trio, and they show no sign at all of changing their musical style. This is doom, boys and girls, often of the style performed by the likes of Black Sabbath, Cathedral, Saint Vitus, Trouble and Candlemass, yet also interspersed with NWOBHM stylings at time. One thing that definitely adds to this feeling is that while Necroskull is a fine guitarist, he is at best an average singer. Given the power of the music, I would much prefer to hear a stronger vocalist, as for me the end result is just not what I would expect. There is plenty of passion, and that is what really carries him through, but I do believe that they could be at a different level.

Putting that all to one side, this is still a heck of an album, with incredibly powerful hooks and solid slab-like riffs that lets one know that here is not a band to be massed with. Wilbrahammer sounds as if he is going to break through the drum skins, while Emily Witch mixes Geezer’s sound with that of Chris Squire to create a bass sound that is more like a weapon of mass destruction while Necroskull moves between providing those dense minor chords into really clean and atmospheric solos.

As for the lyrics, those familiar with the history of witch trials will have heard of the Malleus Maleficarum, the dreaded book by fifteenth-century Catholic clergyman Henricus Institoris that detailed and endorsed the torture and extermination of witches by violent means. It also had another name, Hexenhammer. “I’ve always been obsessed with the end of the world,” explains Necroskull. “On previous albums I’ve been wanting it to happen, because I was caught in a very dark place. On No Light…, I was almost angry that it hadn’t happened. This time, it’s a massively confusing time where we’re basically staring at it and waiting for it. I have no solutions. There are none to be had.” Powerful, emotive, this is music as a force to be reckoned with.

Rating: 7/10


Track list:
1. Maleficus
2. Hexenhammer
3. The Devil’s Throne
4. Demons Of The Mind
5. Eternal
6. The Parish
7. Like Sisyphus



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