Though the Halloween season has come to an end, there’s no reason to not fill your minds with spooktastic doom smashers that help finish off the year. Angel Of Damnation could not be a better fit for this this craving, as their second album Heathen Witchcraft dropped near the end of October. The music itself sounds exactly the way it looks, and man do these fellas really sink the witchcraft themes and medieval vibes deep under the surface.
It’s easy enough to call them a traditional doom band, but truly it goes beyond that. The focus is almost entirely on slow, creeping riffs that barely speed up at all, and it avoids the over-the-top thickness in guitar tone that many a stoner metal band will do. Rarely does the music do much in the realm of melody variance, rather it focuses on rhythms and drum fills to set the mood. The melody is introduced primarily by the lead vocalist, and his ranges are pretty impressive. Songs like “Dragged To The Torture Wheel” deliver lyrics in a way that conveys an unsettling emotion, by instilling suspense tacked onto the devious riffs.
The only real flaw this album has is that if you’re not in the correct mood, it can seem pretty dry, so listen with the appropriate setting. This is due to the one sided-ness of it, but don’t think that there aren’t hints of variance once in a while. The second half of the record tampers with an energetic push that isn’t quite as abrasive as the first half. Namely, album closer “Tear Off The Veil Of The Sun” fits the bill. The title track also sneaks in some tricks and keyed parts to add more spookiness to it.
Essentially, if you have a strong taste for very slow doom with lyrics about dark magic and medieval torture, Heathen Witchcraft is for you. Just make sure you’re in the right mindset, because truthfully I wasn’t really into this after the first spin. Suspense helps, and stronger vibrancy on the second half make this a more digestible treat. Heathen Witchcraft was released on October 26, 2018 on Shadow Kingdom Records (or as I like to say, Shadow Kingdoom Records, bwahaha), and can be found digitally on their Bandcamp or physically through the record company directly.