Rorcal & Earthflesh – Witch Coven (Review)

Rorcal & Earthflesh - Witch CovenWitch Coven is a collaboration between Swiss post-black/doom metallers Rorcal, and Earthflesh, a noise incarnation of Rorcal’s ex-bassist.

This collaboration has birthed two immense tracks with a duration of 30 minutes in total. Combining black metal, doom, drone, and noise, as well as the occasional avant-garde element, these two songs are multifaceted exemplars of foul, malignant extreme metal.

These songs are hideously-rendered nightmarescapes of layered sounds and crushing guitars. The two monoliths of blackened doom the make up Witch Coven are both extremely satisfying and enjoyable, as well as terrifying and scarring. They’re well-written and delivered, effectively mixing apocalyptic doom with blackened mood and noise-enriched texture.

Opener Altars of Nothingness starts and ends with harmonious chanting, crafting an atmosphere as thick as ice. The main bulk of the music is menacingly heavy and filled with otherworldly grim darkness. There’s a crackling malevolence here that’s tangible, and the music’s glacial intensity is almost overwhelming in its inexorable inevitability; this creature will consume and erase you, it is just a matter of when this happens.

The second track is just as harsh and nasty, but has its own well-developed daemonic personality distinct from that of the first. The black metal influences are more prevalent on this piece, bringing with them an infernal grandeur that’s awe-inspiring in its realisation. The blackened doom is peppered with bursts of scathingly aggressive speed, bringing with it a dark energy that’s unstoppable in its ferocity. The noise aspects add a tension that’s oppressive, especially just before the midway part of the song, which is a percussive atmospheric section that is almost visceral in its sparse ambience. Happiness Sucks, so Do You is a venomous work of corrupted intensity, and its blackened apogee ends this release with a droning threat that has an appropriate finality to it.

Witch Coven is impressive, intimidating, and unsuitable for the newly-initiated. Hardened fans of blackened doom, however, will find much of worth and value here to become absorbed and weighed down by.

Very highly recommended.

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