Album Review

Rorcal & Earthflesh – Witch Coven: Album Review

On their new album Witch Coven, Rorcal & Earthflesh have created a dynamic fusion of the black metal and doom metal genres together with other musical influences, to provide an intense listening experience that once again demonstrates the creative potential of metal. 

Release date: now available

Label: Hummus Records

Format: DL/CD/Vinyl/Cassette

Rorcal, based in Switzerland, were formed in 2005. The black metal/doom metal quintet on their new release Witch Coven, have teamed up with Earthflesh’s Bruno, who interestingly was Rorcal’s original bass player. The new album is comprised of two epic and lengthy tracks, clocking in at over fourteen minutes for Altars of Nothingness, and over fifteen minutes for Happiness Sucks, So Do You. 

Altars Of Nothingness, with additional vocals by Michael Schindl begins its musical trajectory with some stunning and majestic multi-tracked choral vocals, that are also intriguingly tinged with the sort of soaring harmonies the Beach Boys effortlessly pulled off on their albums. An astonishingly good if not a little surprising musical combination. When the guitars come thundering in, you can tangibly hear the growling distortion bleeding into the mix, which speaks to the instruments being recorded live for the album.

As the track gathers momentum, the vocal screams become more piercing and the guitars more doom-laden. The dynamic changes of pace, ranging from quickening black metal to echoing thick slabs of doom metal are quite hypnotic and immersive. The drumming throughout this piece deserves a special mention. It is simply outstanding, anchoring the dynamic shifts of musical mood, and at times taking the musical lead, as blast beats and jazz accents merge and drive the music forwards. The track concludes with the return of the choral vocals, with ambient feedback sounds permeating in and out of the mix, adding another atmospheric layer to this ambitious extreme metal musical suite.

Happiness Sucks, So Do You is introduced with an agile drum roll, and then followed by one of the most relentless and unforgiving black metal walls of sound this reviewer has ever experienced. There is nowhere to hide as the intense cascading sound of the massed guitars and screamed words engulfs you. The punctuating drums only just hold down the chaotic soundscape erupting around you. A breathtaking change of pace, led by some massive blast beats, has the piece heading off in another direction, which brings a quite insistent groove to the music, which strangely is almost danceable. At around the mid point, the track evolves into a softer percussive and ambient electronica type arrangement, with some experimental overtones that remind the listener of early Pink Floyd. 

The tracks coda section sees a return to a full on epic black metal thematic sound, with the voice and instruments melding into one magnificent cacophony of sound, before melting away with one final ambient musical phrase. A stunning and unforgettable musical experience. You can listen here to Happiness Sucks, So Do You

This album is an incredible musical experience that integrates black metal and doom metal with a range of exciting non metal musical influences. It once again demonstrates the creative and musically empowering possibilities that metal offers to musicians and fans. It is a fantastic fully immersive and involving musical journey. Very highly recommended. 

Rorcal online: Website / Facebook / Bandcamp

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