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Angel Of Damnation - Heathen Witchcraft (2018) - Review

Band: Angel Of Damnation
Album title: Heathen Witchcraft
Release date: 26 October 2018
Label: Shadow Kingdom Records

01. Brimstone Sorcery
02. Dragged To The Torture Wheel
03. Gospel Of The Serpent (The Damnation Of Gehenna)
04. Heathen Witchcraft
05. Lord Of The Seven Churches
06. Tear Off The Veil Off The Sun

Formed in 2004, Angel Of Damnation are a traditional epic/doom metal band. The band which in its line-up features members of renowned acts such as Sacred Steel, Front Beast, Dawn Of Winter and Nocturnal, released their debut album, Carnal Philosophy, in 2015. Now, their sophomore effort Heathen Witchcraft is available through Shadow Kingdom Records.

The opening track "Brimstone Sorcery" sets the perfect creeping tone for the record with its slow build, grooves and yearning vocals. The next track, "Dragged To The Torture Wheel", is built around a riff that is more than a little similar to Pentagram's "Forever My Queen". It's a bit distracting but there's enough variety going on in the song and the riff itself that it doesn't come off as musical theft. It's actually kind of refreshing to hear such an iconic riff in a new light. I found "Gospel Of The Serpent (The Damnation Of Gehenna)" to be the most forgettable track here. But it still hits like a mud slide in slow motion. It says a lot when your weakest track is still an agreeable one.

Track four, the albums title track, is a ten minute monster that conjures up images of ancient castles, horse drawn carriages and nefarious barons. The lyrics of sorcery and torture work well with the dark, gothic vibe of the music to create the true stand out jam of the record. "Lord Of The Seven Churches" delivers a much needed shot of energy after the brooding of previous tunes while still bringing mythical imagery and strong riffs. If I can bitch about one thing, I'd argue this track should have sat somewhere in the first half of the album to help avoid any lull caused by the more sinisterly paced cuts. But that's more of a personal gripe than anything.

The sixth and final track, "Tear Off The Veil Of The Sun", is a powerful and melodic send off. There are moments throughout (especially in the chorus) that give a striking Geoff Tate of Queensryche feel that makes the track so much more epic than it already is. Add to this the stellar guitar work and sing-along lyrics and you have not only a memorable album closer but something that I suspect will be part of the band's setlist for some time to come.

Angel Of Damnation's Heathen Wtchcraft benefits from being less of a straight doom album than what most bands of the genre are churning out and more of an exercise in occult storytelling. The lyrics here bring to mind Vincent Price films like 'Masque Of The Red Death' and 'Tower Of London' while delivering the colossal cumbersome sound the doom metal is built on. It leaves the impression of being Candlemass' more quirky nephew. Quite mystical with plenty of love for empathy and dread while still showing enough originality to stand on its own.

Now is the time for music lovers to buy stock in Angel Of Damnation. Do yourself a favor and get your hands on this album. You won't be disappointed.

Review written by: Will Ring
Rating: 9/10