Review: Old Witch – Come Mourning Come

Posted: October 7, 2014 in Reviews
Tags: , , , , ,

I can’t remember exactly how I came across Old Witch. I think it was recommended to me as some of my Facebook friends liked it. It’s amazing how many bands I’ve found because of that. Anyway, Old Witch are a one man, blackened doom band from the US. I’m not sure where exactly, but the depths of some cavern wouldn’t surprise me. Their 2013 ‘Come Mourning Come’ EP is available here on their Bandcamp, and it is a terrifyingly bleak piece of music.

Opening with the crackling, rumbling malevolence of ‘Funeral Rain’, Old Witch set out their modus operandi immediately. The atmosphere is choking, dark and murky. The metal here is blacker than night, but slow and dirge like doom is a key ingredient. Bone grinding riffs are haunted by shrieks of hatred and despair. This is a mood dampener to say the least. ‘This Land Has Been Cursed’ is equally dark, but has an ethereal keyboard melody behind it, like a glimpse of sun peeking through the mist. Each vocal incantation sounds like the last curse uttered from a Salem pyre. It is funereal and bleak, almost to extremes. ‘God ov Wolves’ is crushing, a dirge born of darkness and evil. ‘The Frost and the Tyrant’ is another example of the power Old Witch have at their disposal, to create the sounds of decay.

I listened to this record out walking the dog the other day, and it meshed perfectly with the leaves on the ground, the frost on the hedge tops and the frozen breath in the air. . ‘Leaves Fall in Autumn’ encapsulates this perfectly, along with huge closer, ‘Olde Spyrits Haunt The Thickets’. The former is full of ghostly chords, a quiet contemplative piece that builds slowly with grace. A moment of clarity amongst the dense, suffocating deep. The latter is a vast trail through a gnarled forest, the sound of haunting winds, the sounds of mist in the trees. It is foreboding. Menacing.

‘Come Mourning Come’ has become a record that I keep going back to. It isn’t catchy, it isn’t even all that pleasant on the ear. But the atmosphere is addictive, the feelings invoked are real and powerful. This is one of 2014’s most affecting finds for me, and I can’t recommend it enough.

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