I’ve been given a few albums by stoner metal bands who always include the “doom metal” category when describing themselves. I’ve come to realize that many of these bands don’t really know what doom metal means. Most of these bands are jam bands, like the two I’ve reviewed Wo Fat and Craang, whose songs involve long slow hard rock jams. That is most definitely something that can pass as stoner rock but not doom metal. I find that few bands who describe themselves as doom metal are really what they say. Luckily, Italy’s Witches of Doom fit the description well.
When I was given their album Obey, I was sceptical. Mostly because I’ve been jaded by all the faux doom metal bands. I also had the impression that they were just another band trying to be somebody else rather than themselves. I’m pleased to say I didn’t completely think that after I gave Obey my first listen.
The album starts off with The Betrayal, which has more of an alternative metal sound than a doom metal sound, but I can tell by the track that the band has the right idea. Danilo Piludu‘s voice is deep, but not the most original. It does manage to fit well with the band’s sound. As the album continues with the songs Witches of Doom and To The Bone, I’m further assured that the album is worth a listen. The former of the two songs is a bit faster and darker than The Betrayal, and I can even hear a bit of Ozzy Osbourne in Danilo’s singing at points. To The Bone does sound like a doom metal song. It sounds like the end (of the world) is coming and this track is playing in the process.
It’s the fourth track Needless Needle where I was sold on the album. Not just because of its intro, which is phenomenal, but this is when I started to realize that some serious effort was put in to making Obey. The previous three songs were really good listens, but Needless Needle is a great one. The remaining two heavy songs Dance of the Dead Flies and Rotten to the Core have very slow “stoner” metal paces as well as a genuine doom metal attitude. The former of the two is the better track, especially when Danillo really lets his voice belt, however Rotten to the Core is more superior from a musical perspective.
Witches of Doom recorded two dark ballads for Obey; the first being Crown of Thorns. This is the heavier of the two, starting soft and light with a piano playing in front of violins and behind soft sung vocals. The song progresses to become heavier and heavier is it goes along which makes it worth a listen, especially when the song gets to its hardest point; I really enjoy the vocal melody at this point. The second of the ballads is It’s My Heart (Where I Feel The Cold). This song also mixes heavy sounds with soft sounds, and they do an exceptional job at doing so, but if I had to pick which of the two is better, I’d have to say Crown of Thorns. It’s a tad less cliché.
The album ends with its title track Obey. A nine minute song (even though it shows up as fourteen minutes) that shows an array of influences and sounds. It most notably takes influence from Egyptian style music, but the songs verses sound like they could be the soundtrack to a horror movie (another good sign of doom metal). I like how the song keeps me entertained through its long run, well for the first five and a half to six minutes. It ends with dialogue that is somewhat hard to understand with the heavy Italian accent, but I don’t mind as it makes for a unique way to end the album.
While I concede and admit Obey is a much better album than expected, I feel Witches of Doom have some clichés to work out before they can go a step further in popularity. There is a bit of an original sound heard in such tracks as Needless Needle and The Betrayal and maybe even Obey where I believe their true sound lies and I believe they have potential to go a step further if they can keep things original. I already feel they have more to offer than some other independent bands out there.
“Needless Needle” – First the intro catches you. I can’t tell if they are keyboards or guitar but it sounds goooood and it in its own makes the song worth naming the highlight. It’s also the highlight because it has the features that make the band a credible doom metal band and it also has some alternative metal sound to it, giving it an interesting mixture and a good sample to the sound Witches of Doom has to offer.
7 (Out of 10)
|1||Dance of the Dead Flies||Obey||5:06|
|2||Witches of Doom||Obey||3:54|
|4||To the Bone||Obey||3:49|
|6||Crown of Thorns||Obey||5:25|
|7||Rotten to the Core||Obey||4:10|
|8||It’s My Heart (Where I Feel the Cold)||Obey||4:17|