Witch Vomit – Funeral Sanctum (20 Buck Spin)

Wednesday, 3rd April 2024
Rating: 8 / 10

Old school death metal has returned to the forefront of appeal – not just due to the consistent offerings from the originators of the movement, but a current crop of acts putting forth memorable records to the new generation. Put Portland, Oregon’s Witch Vomit in that conversation, hot on the heels of their last EP release Abhorrent Rapture from 2021 as we have the group’s third album in Funeral Sanctum ready to obliterate your senses through a tactical series of crushing tracks, mixing up influences from numerous US/Swedish artists throughout this half-hour playback.

The main riffs of CL and Tempter come at you from a slow churn to blitzkrieg angles – one minute possessed in frantic chaos, the next soul crushing in terms of impact. Look into the cement mixer transitions with Sabbath-esque bends or frantic lead spots during “Serpentine Shadows” as evidence of their deadly tandem abilities. The sensible rhythm section passages keep the hook/groove factor always in mind, even when drummer Filth throws in that fluid drum roll or shapeshifting snare/double kick twist during “Decaying Angelic Flesh”, the swirling growls and tremolo runs provide additional terror to the arrangement. Pulling from everything like Incantation and Grave to aspects of Tomb Mold or Frozen Soul, these songs move along briskly – the vocals from Tempter low but intelligible, giving songs like “Dominion of a Darkened Realm” and tenacious “Endless Fall” that extra evil emphasis to win over even the most critical of death metal maniacs. Even throwing a nod to punk/grindcore for the one-minute barrage of “Endarkened Species”, the record ends in a trippy fashion for the title track – measured distant vocals in the opening, cultural lead twists, beyond the heavy mid-tempo transition that’s a nod to old school Death makes this a finale worth remembering.

Favored cover artist Matt Stikker as well producer Evan Mersky continue to be a part of the well-oiled team that keeps Witch Vomit ascending up the ranks – with Funeral Sanctum a solid example of seasoned musicians continual crafting better material as the years roll by. Competency plus execution equals an addictive record that most within the underground community should appreciate.

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