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WITCHSKULL - A Driftwood Cross (Album Review)

Release date April 24, 2020 (Rise Above)

Quite appropriate that Witchskull are signed to Lee Dorian's Rise Above Records given that A Driftwood Cross' opening track ("Black Cathedrals") sports a full-on Cathedral lope of a riff. Great opener to be sure, but the Australian lads spread their wings thereon out on this, their third full length in five years. Sure, it's undoubtedly old school doom falling not far from the Cathedral tree, but it definitely has its own sound.

Witchskull interject bass-only sections within many of the compositions, creating insanely heavy 'crack-the-earth' levels of power when the main riff is re-introduced, and Marcus De Pasquale's vocals have a unique warble to them, again creating their own exclusive sound palette here. And I'd be remiss if I didn't call out the rumbling bass extraordinaire that is Tony McMahon.

Highlighted tracks for this much-doomed fan is the monstrous "Dresden", worthy of the price of admission on its own, its galloping riff pounding the listener into a trampled heap. There's a trippy little psychedelic mid-section, but duck when the main premise of a riff returns. The other primo song is "Nero Order", one of those 'building-to-a-crescendo' tracks that is pure doom heaven.

That said, let's not lose sight that the main muscle of this eight track, forty minute release is its strength of song from beginning to end, "This Silent Place" being the only track that stumbles a bit comparatively. A very strong release that will appeal to trad doomsters out there.

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