Album Review – Dread Witch / Tower of the Severed Serpent (2023)

Embark on a journey through a dark wasteland infested with oozing swamps, sludge and filth by a sinister Doom Metal trio hailing from Denmark.

Formed in 2022 in Aarhus, Denmark by Andreas Cadaver of Stone Cadaver on guitars, bass and keys, Mikael Rise of Scamp on vocals, and Dennis Larsen, formerly of Olm, on drums, the newborn Doom Metal beast Dread Witch is ready to kill armed with their debut effort, entitled Tower of the Severed Serpent, offering sheer doom for the doomed as the end times are upon us all. Mixed and mastered by Tue Madsen (Meshuggah, Heaven Shall Burn), with drums recorded and engineered by Ole Madsen and additional drum engineering by Kasper Sørensen, and displaying a sinister artwork by Branca Studio, Tower of the Severed Serpent invites us all to embark on a journey through a dark wasteland infested with oozing swamps, sludge and filth, attacking us with a massive doom sound boasting thick layers of low-tuned guitars, distorted bass, meditative ambient textures and insane vocals recommended for fans of Conan, With the Dead, Triptykon and Devin Townsend, among others.

The sound of the howling winds warns us all a Doom Metal attack is about to begin in The Tower, with Andreas distilling his Black Sabbath-infused riffs while Mikael roars the song’s obscure words manically (“Cracks lining the inside / Just like / Hoary, porous bone / I wander on my own / Alone / On ice so very thin / As reason’s lowered in / Within / Lowered in to drown”) and Dennis smashes our heads with his pounding beats, whereas the already dirty riffage by Andreas gets even dirtier and more sinister in Serpent God, another infernal composition by the trio exhaling sheer heaviness and doom. Moreover, the vociferations by Mikael will demonically pierce your mind and darken your soul, while Dennis once again dictates the pace with his drums, walking hand in hand with Andreas’ stringed axe. And investing in a sonority clearly inspired by the one and only Triptykon, the trio fires the menacing, spine-chilling extravaganza Leech, where Mikael bursts his lungs screaming like a beast in a lecture in classic Doom Metal.

In Wormtongue, more of their psychological lyrics are declaimed by Mikael (“My life is a war / I’m battered and worn down / Look into my eyes / And you will see nothing / Bereft of life I’ll fall / Into a slumber so soothing”) while Andreas and Dennis generate a thunderous atmosphere with their low-tuned, cryptic bass lines and crushing beats; and Dennis never gets tired of hammering his drums, which adds tons of heaviness to Into the Crypt, their second to last explosion of Doom Metal also presenting elements of the most unfriendly form of Stoner Rock and Metal, all boosted by the song’s eerie background vocalizations and grim atmosphere. Lastly, the band shows absolutely no mercy for our souls in the instrumental closing tune Severed, beginning in a melancholic way before morphing into a neck-breaking, lugubrious musicality that will drag you into pitch black darkness until its epic ending.

The guys form Dread Witch are waiting for you inside their Stygian coven on Facebook and on Instagram with news, more of their music and so on, and if you want to show them your utmost support and join the dark side of doom you can purchase their debut album by clicking HERE. After all is said and done, your soul will certainly become darker as you feel the blood seeping from a sky blackened by the funeral pyre of mankind, thanks to the amazing job done by those Danish metallers in their infernal debut album. In other words, simply succumb to the other side, and pledge allegiance to the venomous Dread Witch!

Best moments of the album: Serpent God and Leech.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Bottomless Pit/Gateway Music

Track listing
1. The Tower 8:30
2. Serpent God 7:52
3. Leech 6:17
4. Wormtongue 6:10
5. Into the Crypt 5:40
6. Severed 4:48

Band members
Mikael Rise – vocals
Andreas Cadaver – guitar, bass, keys
Dennis Larsen – drums
Leifur Nielsen – bass*
Pelle Santana – lead guitar*

*Leifur Nielsen and Pelle Santana joined the band after the recording of the album, and therefore did not perform in it.

Album Review – Arcana 13 / Black Death EP (2020)

A lethal mixture between the visual terror of Italian horror with the heavy and magical atmospheres of 70’s Occult Rock in the form of a short but extremely sharp and obscure EP.

“Emblems seen through the fog, it’s the end of it all. Look upon the blood-red moon and you’ll be facing the Black Death.”

Hailing from Italy, the birthplace of cult horror movie masters like Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento and Mario Bava, among many others, more specifically from Ravenna, a city in in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy, Doom/Heavy Metal entity Arcana 13 (which should be read as Arcana Tredici, as “tredici” is 13 in Italian) is unleashing upon humanity more of their “Horror Doom”, a lethal mixture between the visual terror of Italian horror with the heavy and magical atmospheres of 70’s Occult Rock, with their brand new EP entitled Black Death, the follow-up to their 2016 full-length opus Danza Macabra.

Comprised of Simone Bertozzi and Andrea Burdisso on vocals and guitars, Filippo Petrini on bass and Luigi Taroni on drums, Arcana 13’s latest gravestone is the collaboration with director Luca Canale Brucculeri on his new horror TV series Black Death, based on the eponymous comic book. He got enthralled by Arcana 13’s music and decided to commission the main theme’s songwriting for the series, resulting in this short but extremely effective display of horror and doom by Arcana 13, all complemented by a grim artwork designed by Spanish artist Pol Abran (Branca Studio). Having said that, are you ready to face darkness and horror together with this talented four-piece act of doom?

Like in a sinister horror movie the song Black Death starts in a truly phantasmagorical way, evolving into a feast of damned beats blasted by Luigi and cryptic guitar lines by both Simone and Andrea. Not only that, it has a beautiful Black Sabbath-inspired vibe that will certainly captivate all your senses, inviting you to feel the thunderous bass by Filippo smashing your skull mercilessly, while the last part of the song is faster, more dynamic and more flammable, bringing to our avid ears a wild guitar solo as the icing on the cake. Then Arcana 13 offer us all something I’d never thought I would see one day, a somber and atmospheric Doom Metal version of an Iron Maiden song, more specifically the old school Wrathchild (check out this amazing version from Iron Maiden’s latest live album The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter, released in 2018), where Filippo kicks ass on bass while the vocal lines sound and feel grim and introspective from start to finish, also showcasing a fantastic job done by Simone and Andrea with their damned riffage.

If Black Death is only the “teaser trailer” to what Arcana 13 are preparing for us in the near future in the form of a new horror movie-inspired full-length opus, then we can all rest assured great things are about to happen in the ominous world of such skillful and hardworking Italian group. Hence, keep an eye on their official Facebook page for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about the quartet, and grab your copy of Black Death from their official BandCamp page, from the Aural Music webstore, from FYE.com and soon from several other locations, showing your utmost support to a band that certainly knows how to transform a spine-chilling, psychological horror story into top-of-the-line heavy music.

Best moments of the album: Both songs are darkly amazing.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Aural Music

Track listing
1. Black Death 6:48
2. Wrathchild (Iron Maiden cover) 3:52

Band members
Simone Bertozzi – vocals, guitar
Andrea Burdisso – vocals, guitar
Filippo Petrini – bass
Luigi Taroni – drums