Written by Carcassbomb
- Pennsylvania, America
- June 5, 2020
I’ve been listening to this album for weeks and it’s taken me some time to review it due to worldly circumstances at the moment (Black lives matter way more than promoting music). It’s been my go to album lately, up there with Sutrah, Lychgate, Ainsoph and Dyssidia. Witching combine doom sludge music with elements of post punk and post rock. It’s gloriously textured.
Just look at it, such a great album cover. Definitely up there in the top 10 of 2020 so far. The artist Alex Echman-Lawn also has a brilliant gallery showcasing his style of making architecture out of heads and heads out of architecture. I love the juxtaposition of stone wall and organic tissue.
Musically, there’s two kinds of tones that really shine; the guitar tones and the vocal tones. There’s a lot of timing and mood that factor into the composition well. They’re intoxicating in their soulfulness. There’s a lot stoner and sludge licks that don’t sound that different from a more relaxed kind of stoner album but something about their setup and the arrangement makes it so much more active. It’s an aggressive record but also, somehow, a wistful one.
Jacqui Powell might just be my favorite vocalist of the year. There’s a good range of clean and unclean with an uncanny ability to transition one into the other flawlessly. The cleans remind me a lot of Cold In Berlin who also mesh doom with post punk. The uncleans don’t sound like any other I’ve heard, perhaps you’d be more likely to find similar in hardcore punk but not so much metal. It’s a style that emphasises expression over heaviness, allowing for a more dynamic sound overall that doesn’t owe it’s self to any one particular style.
I can’t critique this album, which is not very common, I usually have at least one fault with albums I love. It’s a good chunk of time, not too short or long. The space in the music creates a sense of time passing while the tightness of the song writing allows for infinite replayability. I’ve pretty much enjoyed everything I’ve heard mastered by Brad Boatright from Audio Siege so I wasn’t surprised to see his name attached to Vernal. It’s is such an amalgamation of sludge ideas from across the board, showing a fascinating understanding of the sludge/stoner/post metal spectrum from the band and then them working with similarly minded audio engineers cements the competency.
It’s difficult to pin Witching down, they sound like an incredible unique force in a well-tread genre, something I admire and respect greatly. I’ve heard so much bad sludge and I know how challenging it is to create an interesting riff within the genre. Here I think synergy and vision were key. A background in blues groove certainly helps too, a lot went into the refinement of their sound and as a result it will give you a lot to think about.