Witchthroat Serpent “Trove of Oddities at the Devil’s Driveway”

Written by Album Review, Chronique, Featured

Witchthroat Serpent is one of these bands that build their brand discreetly thanks to an ever-growing and dedicated fanbase. They’re one of these obvious references that did not develop through extensive touring or constant releases, but thanks to word of mouth and a very honorable focus on delivering quality. In fact, Witchthroat Serpent has never tried to reinvent the wheel, but rather treat us with the quintessential yet timeless vintage doom we all love. 

On this album, everything has been meticulously thought out for years, as the songwriting dates back to the pre-Covid era. And we can feel this attention to detail right from the opening track “Multi-Dimensional Marvelous Throne”, for 10 minutes that take their time and revolve around some great ideas.

The intro riff is obviously a tribute to fuzzy doom classics but it is neither basic nor simple. The chord progression and riff resolution are clever enough to surprise us just a tad without ever losing us. And after a long but perfectly timed intro, 70s-styled vocals kick in with a superbly balanced amount of reverb. One crazy guitar run later and we are offered a filthy, dissonant and unstable guitar line acting as a massive bridge before a slow and heavy AF ending to the song. With this track alone, the band shows off its craftsmanship and the patience they used to build up the vibe. We must applaud that! 

Every detail has been matured and repeated just the right amount of time. Every element is perfectly integrated into the bigger picture. The solos are never too short or too long, never too faraway-sounding or upfront in the mix. The vocals are scarce but every time they pop, they really add value to the song. And we could extend this statement to the other five tracks.

“Nosferatu’s Mastery” takes on the same recipe while being more direct and brutal. In between too epic titles, we enjoy “Gorgon” with its windy and putrid atmosphere, still heavily attached to late 70s and early 80s horror aesthetics. We can also feel their love for the old VHS era in the all-analog grain from the Kerwax Studios recording and in this simple yet iconic artwork from Branca Studios.

“The House That Dripped Blood” offers amazing guitar work early in the track, until a short sample finally guides us to these almost Kadavar-inspired vocals. We’re not far from singalong and this aerial singing creates a captivating contrast with the lyrics and music’s full-on heaviness. “Yellow Nacre” is the fieriest song of the record with a higher bpm and more tension in the riffage. And how could I not mention the final riff, so simple yet so catchy and such a fitting idea? Here lies the proof that a bit of well-balanced dissonance is always welcomed — a feeling that the final noisy lead guitar definitely amplifies. A treat for my ears. 

To close up this album, they opted for some keys but fear not, they’re quickly replaced by the round and gainful bass sound we all love: here come 8 minutes of pure doom. Feedback kicks in — it’s a great surprise, for the band did not use this infamous tool anytime before. The bass finally takes back the lead with vocal lines for an almost religious and romantic Gothicism for the ending.  

Anyone into this genre will fall in love with this album. Witchthroat Serpent is not trying to surprise us but rather sublimate a formula that many have contributed to craft over the decades. So what makes this album stand out? The gestation. Everything is at the right place and while spontaneity can be great sometimes, there’s nothing quite like this feeling of satisfaction when discovering an album for which we know that every note, every texture, and every concept is exactly how the band wanted it to be. Now we just hope that Witchthroat Serpent will have the opportunity to support this album on the road, as they’ve always been hard to catch live. Without a doubt, we already hold one of the best classic doom records of 2023.

ARTIST: Witchthroat Serpent
ALBUM: Trove of Oddities at the Devil's Driveway
RELEASED: 3rd March 2023
LABEL: Heavy Psych Sounds
GENRE: Occult doom metal
MORE: Facebook - Bandcamp

Last modified: 15 March 2023