Witchfinder General

Castle – In Witch Order Review

Castle – In Witch Order Review

Raucous, aggressive doom metal with female vocals? Sure, why the hell not. Joining such similar female fronted acts as Jex Thoth and Blood Ceremony, San Francisco’s power trio Castle have arrived to carve out their own slice of the retro doom pie (which is pumpkin in case you were wondering). Their debut In Witch Order is a surprisingly refreshing platter that harkins back to the glory days of Witchfinder General and Trouble with just a pinch of Cathedral tossed in like an eye of newt. That last ingredient may be the most important and unlike the others in this niche genre, Castle brings down the witch hammer hard with slashing, bruising riffs and a go-for-the-jugular approach that almost seems untoward for a doom troupe. All I can say is, it works well and makes In Witch Order another happy surprise in a year full of them.

Ghost – Opus Eponymous Review

Ghost – Opus Eponymous Review

How can this be? Yet another metal treasure nearly escaped the watchful eye of Steel Druhm and makes me feel shame for failing to include it in my Top Ten(ish) of 2010. Please forgive this epic oversight as I belatedly introduce you to Opus Eponymous, the debut by Sweden’s Ghost, which is a goldmine of expertly written and played mega-retro 70’s style satanic heavy metal. Taking inspiration from old Mercyful Fate, Witchfinder General, Pentagram and every horror film about satanic cults ever made, Ghost operate in a time warp where metal was as much about mood as sheer musical heaviness and where melody and accessibility were king. Opus Eponymous sometimes feels like the soundtrack to The Exorcist and at other times like Anton LaVey’s satanic mass set to music but it’s compelling, instantly likable and a lot of evil rocking fun for those among us in the left lane of the highway to hell.

Things You May Have Missed 2010: Briton Rites – For Mircalla

Things You May Have Missed 2010: Briton Rites – For Mircalla

Briton Rites is a heavy doom metal act hailing from Atlanta Georgia and their debut album For Mircalla came out of nowhere and really blew me away. Released by Echoes of Crom Records and features Phil Swanson of Hour of 13 on vocals and one of the heaviest, most distorted guitar sounds out there courtesy of Howie Bentley of Cauldron Born. Together these gents serve up some truly ginormous Cathedral, Pentagram, Witchfinder General worship of the highest caliber but with a style all their own. With a thematic concept largely dealing with cult vampire movies like “Captain Cronos” or “Crypt of the Vampire,” there’s enough doomy and gloomy atmosphere here to scare the most rabid werewolf and enough raw, heavy ugliness to convince a metalcore band to go back to playing pop-punk.