Underground Sounds: Witchthroat Serpent – Sang-Dragon

Label: Deadlight Entertainment/Hellas Records
Band: Witchthroat Serpent
Country: France

I keep underestimating the French heavy music movement and thus I keep finding gems from the country of camembert, baguettes and escargots. Though in a way the scene appears to look inwards, there’s a lot of good to be found there and one of those bands is the stoner/doom company Witchthroat Serpent.

Hailing from the city of Toulouse in the south of the country, the band has been active since 2011 and with ‘Sang-Dragon’ they’ve released their second full length. The trio has roots in bands like Artemisia Absinthium, Sektarism and Darvulia and is no stranger to the sound of doom and gloom.

Doom has been slowly recollecting itself from the murky depths it’s been descending into to find the most heavy, deep and slow possible outings. Back to basics seems to be the road that many bands chose to persue, and so does Witchthroat Serpent. They sound like the early incarnations of doom bands like Witchfinder General and St. Vitus. Heavy, but filled with groove and audible vocals that are somewhere between chanting and proclaiming.

Dark and lamenting is the sound of the band, for example on the bleak ‘Siberian Mist’ or the following ‘Lady Sally’, with quite some bluesy guitar work. The riffing is steady and keeps you nodding along, while the vocals take an occasional burst of screaming to keep things interesting. On ‘Into The Black Wood’ the band reminds me a little of Black Tusk in the way that their sound is urgent, jagged and restless, like the last album the Georgia sludgelords released. Even when the song winds down a bit, there’s an uneasiness in the riffs.

I sincerely enjoy listening to this record, but the downside of it is that though it feels clean and back to the basics, there’s little new things going on. With Witchfinder General we find a band that fits in the long list of retro doom for those who love the Electric Wizards of this world. Is that a bad thing? Time will tell, but for now feel free to bang your head to these French doomsters.

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