Thursday, June 28, 2012

Witchrist - The Grand Tormentor

I am, truly, a sucker for the bizarre and contempt-driven aesthetics of old school blackened death metal, such vociferously tainted music, inundating and as oppressive and devastating as a gigantic warhammer, relentlessly hammering the back of a traumatized victim, who seeks escape from the massive aura of deadly oppression. Such music has been offered to me not once, but numerous times, by acts like Pseudogod, Portal, Muknal, Mitochondrion or Antediluvian, and gives me great pleasure to add yet another bestial shroud of sulfuric blasphemy and absolutely crushing piece of black/death to this list, a beast hailing all the way from New Zealand. Not only was I completely battered and shoved away with the crippling force of ''The Grand Tormentor'', but I found its usage of subtle, captivating riffs and engulfing heft to be exceedingly efficient. Although Witchrist are at their second blasphemous offering, and I'll admit that I hadn't been familiarized with their presence until I got to know their sophomore album, which is an event that occurred totally by luck, but nonetheless, these blasphemers have firmly settled somewhere between the bestiality of Pseudogod and the cunning disturbance of Portal, or Mitochondrion, so war metal geeks have nothing to be tedious about while picking this up.

As stated, Wittchrist sound like a heftier, and more tiring version of Pseudogod or Teitanblood even as their brand of war metal has a sublime queerness and ponderousness to it, expanding its boundaries of accessiblity for relative death/doom fans. The overtone that it attains is extremely ominous and almost inhuman at times, the bulky elephantine structure that forms it sends oppressive tides of blackened death like a barrage of drowsy, yet smashing tides crashing at a puny little house, and the balance of three crucial materials that form it are preserved with great care, keeping the webs in between the ponderous chompers and furious flurries constant and robust. Yes, its structure is decidedly complex and very compelling, and that's only the beginning of its swallowing interactions. The first track (after the intro), is a song that I thought would bare a more atmospheric touch, but ''Into The Arms Of Yama'' actually sets the mood right for the next gritting cluster of songs, crushing with a walloping nine minute feast of ridiculously ponderous blackened death/doom, before breaking into an outburst of virulent hostility. ''The Grand Tormentor'' does not favor speed, that is a certainty, but that does not mean it always travels with the pace of turtle, and when it decides to spurt out its monolithic reservoir of riffs and accelerates, it shows no remorse.

The tone and production are crucial to the overall sound of the record, one can only enjoy such distorted and murky production quality, and besides, the can hear everything that's going on in there, no matter how chaotic it is, so you have to excuse for disliking the production. I found many of the album's traits similar to Pseudogod's ''Deathwomb Catachesis'', and that is a pretty accurate comparison in my humble opinion, but the vocals here are not exactly as boisterous or voluminously cavernous as the vocal work on ''Deathwomb'' as they often hide among the dense array of riffs, seldom being provoked and seldom bursting out vigorously. As much as I love the doom laden sequences of this album I can't really go wrong with the fast moments either, because the wroth of ''The Grand Tormentor'' is undeniable, and the record gets as barbaric as any primitive death metal album out there, especially noticeable in tracks like ''Exile'', ''Tandava'' or ''Wasteland Of Thakata'', which end their judgement in a way that's short, effective, though not so sweet. With barbaric groups relentlessly releasing new material, not being saturated will not be on your menu when these savages come banging at your door, and you had better give this doom inserted slab of filthy, blasphemous war metal a listen, because Witchrist will be leading the pack--you can be sure of that.

Funeral Lotus
Into The Arms Of Yama
Meditation For Sacrifice

Rating: 90%

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