Album Review: Witchskull – Coven’s Will

Doom Metal from Down Under comes back June 1st

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Witchskull – Coven’s Will

Label: Rise Above

Release Date: June 1, 2018

Which skull? Witchskull! That’s who!

The trio of blues-based Doom Metallers is back with their second album, Coven’s Will. The band, formed in 2014, previously released their debut album, The Vast Electric Dark back in 2016. This time around, they slowed things down just a little bit and hit a groove that can be felt when the album is pumping.

Witchskull‘s vocalist/guitarist Marcus De Pasquale’s effortless ability to sing while shredding is quite astounding. Don’t forget, even though vocals and guitars are recorded separately in the studio, bands have to go out and play these tracks live. They may get 20 takes in a studio, but they only get one chance in concert.

Holding down the rhythm and low end falls on the shoulders of bassist Tony McMahon and drummer Joel Green.Their lockstep pocket makes it even easier for De Pasquale to fly high and drop back down into the groove. It’s something that takes a great deal of chemistry to pull off well.

My personal favourite is “Raven,” the opening track. It not only sets the pace and feel for the record, but the vocals have this sense of urgency that carries on throughout the rest of the album. If you had to schedule a time for listening to this album, that’s easy. This is an album to put on just as you enter the highway from an on-ramp. You’ve just turned the corner and there’s nothing but straight road ahead. That’s where you’ll get the feel of this record. Every song has a beat that puts you behind the wheel as you weave through traffic on long straightaways.

One thing that took me a while to notice was that if you’re not careful, you’ll end up in a trance, and blow through half the album before coming to the realization that you’ve fallen under Witchskull’s spell.

And although I’m not a huge fan of effect-laden vocals, I’d have to say that for the most part, De Pasquale pulls it off pretty well. The only two songs out of the eight presented that had vocals I didn’t care for were “Priestess” and “The Empty Wall.” Aside from that, the album is solid. Think a doomier Dio and you’ll get the idea. It’s definitely worth a listen.

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  1. Odin's Beard says

    Wow! This album is a breath of fresh air. And that’s saying something given it sounds like it was written 40 years ago. But that’s what makes it so good. It’s almost as if Lemmy and Tony Iommi formed a supergroup and got Marcus De Pasquale on vox and amped up the guitar solos to 11. There’s hooks from start to finish and the album keeps delivering what you want, heavy, evil tracks with driving, at times galloping rhythms, guitar solos that are out of this world and De Pasquale’s melancholy vocals have a vulnerability to them at times that sound like a man who has been to hell and back. Altogether the album oozes soul. Not perfect but it has an authenticity to it that is a rare find these days. I disagree with the review above on Priestess. The song is sick. It feels like you’re being clocked in the head with a giant pendulum and de Pasquale’s evil, melancholic chants invoke the priestess to lure you to the middle eight section and all of a sudden the driving rhythm is sending your V8 roaring down the highway to hell!

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