Mixed and mastered by legendary Danish producer Tue Madsen. Drums recorded and engineered by Ole Madsen. Additional drum engineering by Kasper Sørensen. Vocals recorded at Mikael’s place. Guitars, bass and keys recorded at Dom Wariatów. Artwork by Branca Studio. Music and lyrics by Andreas Cadaver. Released on Bottomless Pit/Gateway Music on Friday 27 January 2023.
For fans of With the Dead, Conan, Triptykon, Devin Townsend
Dread Witch is a doom metal band hailing from Aarhus, Denmark. Tower of the Severed Serpent is their first release, filled with dark, atmospheric and heavy music that Deathrattle Podcast described as “riffs of gravitational force and neutronium density”, and others as “doom for the doomed”.
“Embark on a journey through a dark wasteland infested with oozing swamps, sludge and filth,” reads the press release. “Feel the blood seeping from a sky blackened by the funeral pyre of mankind. All hope is lost. The end times are upon us. Worship at the altar of decadence. Pledge allegiance to the Dread Witch.”
The short album (a touch under 40 minutes) opens with the atmospheric, psychedelic and heavy as a ton of bricks track “The tower” (track 1). This is one slow-burning track, like watching lava consume a village. Dark, swirling vocals circling around layer upon layer of dirty tones and monolithic riffs that eventually fade to dust and are blown away by the wind.
According to the press release, on “Serpent god” (track 2) Dread Witch invites you to partake in a satanic blood ritual complete with occult chanting, blasphemous chugging and a crushing outro that will grind you full-length into the dirt.” I think I’ll kindly pass on that invitation, but the track is as heavy and gruelling as any on the album—heavily saturated overdrive, rumbling bass and crushing riffs fused with a scripted ritual. It’s dark.
“Leech” (track 3) opens with a lighter, atmospheric introduction. But the tease is short-lived, it is soon replaced by a Triptykon-like onslaught and a funereal riff that sinks through the core of the earth as the lyrics tell of exploitation and abuse. This is catharsis for the troubled soul. There are definite nods to late-Celtic Frost and Triptkyon in this composition.
“Wormtongue” (track 4) opens with the now familiar painfully heavy riffs but breaks around halfway through with a hauntingly melodious and ethereal middle section before the peace is once again shattered by dissonance and sludge.
The penultimate track, “Into the crypt” (track 5), combines death metal phrasings, staccato thrash riffing and doom tempos into a frighteningly unstoppable juggernaut. This is probably my favourite track on the album.
Melancholic album closer “Severed” (track 6) is an instrumental dirge filled with mournful harmonies that leads the listener through a journey of sorrow and loss as the darkness slowly consumes everything.
As the press release says, “The end times are upon us. All hope is lost… this is doom for the doomed!”
I’m not sure I have heard anything quite this heavy since Triptykon. Certainly, don’t file this album under ‘easy listening’—some albums can be listened to as background noise, not this: this album demands attention. So, pour yourself a glass of something red… well, probably blood, actually, close the doors, switch off the lights and bathe in the sorrowful melancholy of this monstrously heavy album.
Review score: 80%
MDPR contacted me inviting me to preview Dread Witch’s forthcoming album, thank you. I have no connections to either MDPR or Dread Witch. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Zach from MDPR, and to Dread Witch for continuing to create fresh, exciting music.