The calling of doom metal is not for those who seek an easy path to glory. For those drawn to its flame, it is the awakening of Black Sabbath's dark spirit through the music that is its own rich reward. And for those elites who truly walk the path of doom, it is a journey without end, a pilgrimage that eventually becomes part of the traveler's very bones and being. For Hampshire doom metal maniacs Witchsorrow, it has become a life's work. Formed by frontman Necroskull and bassist Emily Witch over a decade ago (later completed by drummer Wilbrahammer), and with a mission to celebrate the traditions of doom as practiced by such puritans as Black Sabbath, Cathedral, Saint Vitus, Trouble and Candlemass, across three albums their hymns to the void have earned them a place among the genre's elite.
Obsessed with doom, proudly upholding the heavy metal roots of the genre, and with a lyrical outlook that takes in madness, misanthropy, witchcraft, evil, and no less a topic than the destruction of the Earth itself, the trio are as much about the worship of doom as they are pouring scorn on the world. And as the world continues to live in ever-more interesting times, a new collection of hymns emerges. Those familiar with the history of witch trials will already know of the Malleus Maleficarum, the dreaded book by 15th-century Catholic clergyman Henricus Institoris that detailed and endorsed the torture and extermination of witches by violent means. But, like the album, it also went by another name: Hexenhammer.
Written during a hermetic period following an intense run of live shows, and recorded at Skyhammer studio with long-time co-conspirator Chris Fielding (Conan, Primordial, Electric Wizard), the songs find Witchsorrow continuing to explore the dark corners of doom, and illuminate them with the blinding light of sheer heavy metal forged of the strongest steel. It's an almost anthemic soundtrack to the end of the world lyrics. "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."
If 2018 needs a soundtrack to its madness, Witchsorrow have provided it. Heavier, darker, doomier, and more metal than ever before, one of doom's leading lights have made the perfect album for our times. Beware the Hexenhammer.