THEY ARE: Heavy Denim Clad Doom Metal
FROM: Hampshire, England
FOR FANS OF: Revelation, Saint Vitus, Reverend Bizarre
LATEST RELEASE: "Witchsorrow" (Rise Above Records)
SONGS TO CHECK OUT: The Trial Of Elizabeth Clarke, The Agony, Thou Art Cursed
WHERE TO FIND THEM: http://www.facebook.com/
Witchsorrow are not reinventing the musical wheel and are treading a well worn and very familiar sounding musical path but they are not interested in redefining any genre or trying to be overtly original all they care about is playing HEAVY DOOM METAL, nothing more, nothing less and I personally find their no frills heads down traditional approach very endearing and just damn well done and enjoyable, they tick all the right genre boxes and their style will appeal to any serious fan of the genre and bands such as Saint Vitus, Revelation, Reverend Bizarre, early Electric Wizard, early Cathedral, their brand of Doom sounds quintessentially old school and their debut album sounds like it could have came out in the early-mid 1990's, it definetly would not have been out of place on the Rise Above roster of that time along with the debut albums by Mourn and the aforementioned Electric Wizard and they also have a certain Englishness to them, especially when it comes to some of the lyrical subjects which deal with olde english witch trials etc..the vocals of Necroskull on the debut self titled album released on Rise Above in 2010 also remind me very much of Jus Oborn back in the Eternal days or on the first Electric Wizard album, in places he sounds like a deadringer for him to my ears.
Their debut is one of the best homegrown Doom albums since the days this country was producing the aforementioned classics aswell as the debut Solstice album and is the epitome of what I would call TRUE Doom metal, the word Doom has been bastardised and wrongly thrown about to label bands who in my opinion are not Doom and shouldn't be labelled as such so much over the past decade with any band playing slow, dirgey and sludgey being called or calling themselves Doom, to me Witchsorrow epitomise and capture everything I personally love about the Doom genre and how I think a Doom metal band should sound, they are a Doom band in the purest and truest sense of the word, clean normal sung vocals meets heavy and doomed (but not constantly slow!) riffage. The band are not afraid to up the tempo every once in a while and in my opinion all the best Doom bands both past and present injected mid paced-uptempo sections in their music.
The band haven't rested on their laurels and have already been back into Foel Studios to record their second album for Rise Above which is due for a release by the summer, the title of which is still to be revealed. The bands current line up is:- Necroskull guitar/vocals, Emily Witch bass, David Wilbrahammer drums. I thought it was a good time to interrogate Necroskull and here is what he had to say :-
Your debut album was released last year via Rise Above, what are your thoughts looking back on that debut album now? Are you satisfied with how it turned out? What has the response been like to it overall? Are you happy with it? If you could change anything about the debut recording what would it be?
NECROSKULL: I’m still massively proud of it. Listening to it now, I do think we’ve come on loads, but I still think it captured what we were trying to achieve. With the exception of The Agony we weren’t thinking of writing for an album when we wrote the songs, we just wanted songs to play live. We don’t tend to write songs that we don’t record, so these were the earliest things we’d ever written.
I wouldn’t change anything about it, though, because it is what it is, anything to be done differently can be done differently the next time we record. Otherwise you end up revising history. I wouldn’t want to hear Seven Churches re-recorded or anything, because you’d lose the spirit, and I think the same of our debut. We captured the spirit, so job done.
Please tell the readers a little bit about this debut album in your own words and what they can expect from it if they are not familiar with the music of Witchsorrow?
NECROSKULL: Heavy doom metal, in the tradition of Sabbath, Vitus, Trouble, Electric Wizard, Cathedral etc, with an emphasis on heavy metal darkness. Some of the songs are fast, most of them are slow, but they’ve all got a total downer edge. And they’re all metal.
How did you initially hook up with Rise Above? Was it a case of you sending them a demo or did they approach you?
NECROSKULL: I’m still not quite sure what happened there. I’ve known Lee and Will from Rise Above for years. They were at our first gig, and somewhere along the line we ended up working together. I think they liked that we have a total dedication to doom. Really it just boils down to them liking what they heard and wanting to release us, which is a very amazing thing.
You recently entered Foel Studios to record album number 2 which will be once again released by Rise Above, please tell us a bit about the new album, what can we expect from it? What are some of the new song titles and what will this album be called?
NECROSKULL: Titles will remain secret for the time being, but the album is total doom. It’s a lot darker and heavier than the first album, a lot more shadow. Some of it reminds me of Forest OfEquilibrium a bit, that’s a really slow, dirgy song, but then there’s also a song on there that celebrates great classic heavy metal bands the three of us love like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Accept. As I say, heavy doom metal.
Why did you choose to record there? How was the recording process for this new album? Much stress or did everything get laid down quite smoothly? Did you feel some pressure for album #2?
NECROSKULL: We loved the results from last time, and I personally just love being there. It’s miles away from anything, there’s no people, no interruptions, just your music and vast countryside. It’s a really amazing place. Emily and I aren’t really into towns and cities, so somewhere as remote as Foel is a brilliant find. The rest of the world really does vanish when you’re there, it’s wonderful.
We didn’t feel much pressure really, although we booked the studio before we’d written a lot of it, so we were aware of the clock ticking and having to get it finished before we went to record. But if we didn’t do that we’d probably still be writing it now.
Something that was different this time was that we had time to try things out while we were recording, which we didn’t get the chance for before. There’s an instrumental thing on there we pretty much made up on the spot, we just got a riff and recorded some ideas with it. That was cool.
Have you pretty much just stuck to the same formula with the new album/material?
NECROSKULL: There’s no real formula to it, we just come up with whatever we can jamming together. We’ve tried writing songs alone and bringing them complete to the rest of the band, and it just doesn’t work – we all have to play riffs together and try and come to the next bit of a song naturally by doing that.
I do think that we aimed for the same results as we always have, though – to create metal that’s really heavy and dark.
When will the new album be released?
NECROSKULL: Sometime within the next six full moons.
Do you plan to play live much/tour in support of this album?
NECROSKULL: We do. We haven’t got much set in stone yet, but we’ve been talking about some very cool things. And we’re playing with Wounded Kings, Serpent Venom and Cultfinder in February, which will be awesome. We’re also playing in Bournemouth an Birmingham in March, details on the web.
What bands shape and fuel the sound of Witchsorrow?
NECROSKULL: Obviously the classic doom stuff like Sabbath, Wizard, Vitus, Cathedral, Reverend Bizarre, Count Raven etc, but we’re also really inspired by bands like Bathory, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept. We’ve always had a side of us that’s total foot-on-the-monitor, headbanging metal madness. I’m also a massive fan of really dark death metal bands like Grave Miasma and Mortuary Drape, they inspire us as well.
Please tell us a bit about the bands name?
NECROSKULL: I have no idea where it came from, it just came into my head one night when I was just sat listening to music. I think witches are so classic in doom because if you were accused of being one, you were absolutely fucked, to me they’re these icons of complete hopelessness. They are the damned.
Lyrically you seem very influenced by the darker sinister side of anicent British history, witch trials etc..what lyrical topics do the new songs deal with? what fascinates you about these subjects/topics? England is a perfect place for a doom metal band to originate from with its wealth of old history, creepy old graveyards, churches, hauntings and other such places/things.
NECROSKULL: The new songs have mentions of witches, magic and soforth, but that’s just the language we use to write. The meanings behind them are always something more than that, though. There’s a lot of anger, frustration, bitterness, disappointment, fear, biting your thumb at the rest of the world. At the moment the whole world feel like it’s about to collapse. I know the metal thing to do is to write about surviving and prospering and whatnot, but I just can’t do it. It’s hopeless, everything’s fucked, and I honestly think things are going to get really, really bad over the next couple of years. We’re basically waiting for the end of the world now.
What is your opinion on the current worldwide doom metal scene? What other current bands do you feel an affinity with? Which other Doom bands could you recommend to the readers out there who are searching for more Doom to listen to?
I think the doom underground’s really good at the moment. I’m excited to hear new stuff by Vitus and Solstice, and the new-ish stuff by bands like Procession, Atlantean Kodex, 40 Watt Sun, Devil has all been killer. Hopefully the Sabbath reunion will do something good for the scene getting a bit of attention as well. It’s sad that some of the older bands like Cathedral and Candlemass are bowing out, but there are plenty of killer bands to keep the flames burning.
PIC BY ADAM W THOMAS
PIC BY ADAM W THOMAS
Describe Witchsorrow in 5 words only?
Morbidly fixated doom heavy metal
NECROSKULL: The scene in Farnborough is basically Emily and me, and one of our neighbours (who we met by chance when we supported Angel Witch and only discovered that night that we lived literally two doors away), who’s been in the doom scene for years, saw Mourn and all that back in the day. Other than that, Farnborough has nothing. No venue, no metal pub… I can’t even remember the last time I saw any kids in Bring Me The Horizon shirts in town. Mainly for gigs it’s London, I go to as many doom/black metal gigs in London as I can.
As for our own gigs, it depends where and when we’re playing and what’s appropriate. We played in a church earlier this year, and it was lit almost entirely by candlelight, which was amazing, but that wouldn’t be right to do everywhere. When we’ve played in daylight at festivals, or in venues that aren’t exactly vibe-y, we’ve managed to carry ourselves via the sheer force of our metal attack. We just try to create something dark via the medium of loud heavy metal, and add elements around that as appropriate to the surroundings.
What bands have you shared the stage with so far? If you could share the stage with ANY five bands who would they be? Who would be the ultimate band for you to go out on the road with?
NECROSKULL: We’ve played with loads of killer bands – most recently we did a couple of dates with EyeHateGod, which was pretty killer. We’ve also played with Orange Goblin, Electric Wizard, Angel Witch, Warning, Winterfylleth, The Gates Of Slumber, Blood Ceremony, Pagan Altar, The Lamp Of Thoth, Iron Void, loads. We played with Turisas once, which was weird, loads of kids in fur and warpaint ready to party, and they get half an hour of us and our misery. We did a festival in summer with The James Cleaver Quintet, I liked that. I always enjoy being on bills with bands who are different than us.
Five bands to play with…
I think best band to go on the road with would be Maiden. That;d be perfect because they’re such an organised touring machine we could just turn up when we were told to, do our thing, then watch Maiden. You’d probably get babysat very well on tour with them.
You played Sonisphere earlier this year, what was that experience like? How was the crowd reaction?
NECROSKULL: We were on at the same time as Metallica at Sonisphere. In my head, it turned into a real us vs them thing. It was killer, though, we had loads of candles and torches onstage, we could see the moon while we were playing, it was really perfect in that respect.
What I really loved was that people gave Metallica the fuck off and came to watch us instead. It didn’t bother me that we probably lost a lot of people to them, but I felt really proud that people chose us over them. A small victory for real metal. I got a bit carried away and called Metallica cunts from the stage, but I imagine a younger Lars Ulrich would have approved of that.
I was surprised to see Metallica have the balls to come back for Download, considering how hard we handed them their arses. Download : Book us so we can blow The Four Horsemen offstage again.
Any plans for you to play Roadburn? I think that is a festival perfectly suited to Witchsorrow!.
NECROSKULL; We’d LOVE to play at Roadburn. It’s just a question of being invited to come and be part of it.
Any plans to hit the road in say USA at some point in 2012? Which fellow Rise Above bands would you most like to go out on tour with?
I’d love to tour America, Europe, anywhere. Just a matter of finding the time, the money, the promoters… RA bands I’d love to tour with are Electric Wizard, Gates Of Slumber and Blood Ceremony. They’re all really, really cool, so touring with any of them would be time well spent.
Why the nickname Necroskull? Any particular reason you chose this name or did you think it just sounded like a good doom stage name?
NECROSKULL: A friend came up with it years ago now. Say my real name really quickly when you’ve had a drink…
Whats the plans for 2012?
We’ve got some gigs in the pipeline (see Facebook for deets), and we’ve got a few other bits we’re working on, bills we want to get on. And there’s the new album coming out, of course! Start saving your shekels for that!