British newcomers Witchsorrow just released their 2nd album ‘God Curse Us on Rise Above Records, which is already being hailed as one the brightest hopes for British doom that has washed up on Albion’s shores in some time. Being a dyed in the wool fan of the genre as well, frontman Necroskull shares his love for all things doom with us.
How did you get interested in doom?
Hail! My obsession with doom began when I was quite young. I had heard Black Sabbath and loved them, and as I got more into music I became increasingly interested in bands like Cathedral, Electric Wizard etc. The music, the imagery, the heaviness, the things that went with it, it all spoke to me in a way that no other music did. Even before I heard some of the bands (as in those days and being very young, music wasn’t as easy to get hold of as it would be today), I’d read interviews and see pictures and just know that this was the stuff for me.
You’re ranked together with the true doom movement, but besides the classic doomfathers I hear a lot of more recent influences in there like for instance Electric Wizard?
Electric Wizard are an enormous influence. Emily Witch and I have been listening to them for as long as we’ve known each other, literally since we were 15, so it’s hardly a surprise that they’ve become a huge influence! They’re as important to me as Led Zeppelin or Metallica or Sabbath.
I really like the heavy, tripped out stuff that’s followed on from Wizard like Satuarnalia Temple, Bong etc, but although we touch on that ourselves, for me the aim of Witchsorrow has always been to be a total, crushing doom heavy metal band. I like having a freakout sometimes, but for me the most important thing is keeping it doom METAL. When we started the band, I had started to become sick of going to gigs and seeing nothing but Isis copyists calling themselves doom just because they played slow and heavy. I wanted to start a band that had the vibe of early Cathedral, Wizard, Vitus, Trouble, Count Raven, Reverend Bizarre, Solstice… Music with that undeniable doom edge.
I’ve always been into music and bands who were quite anti social and misanthropic. Wizard, Bathory, stuff like that. The band is our little pocket of the world into which we retreat as a way of escaping and biting our thumb at everything. Most of the world makes my head spin, it bothers me, so it’s good to have somewhere where you are the kings.
How did the three of you get together?
Emily Witch and I are married and have known each other since we were young teenagers, 14 years old. Her story with doom is quite similar to mine, we were both discovering a lot of stuff at the same time, and she was drawn to the same aspects of it that I was. When I began starting the band, she immediately wanted to be part of it. She’d never been in a band before, but I knew she’d be perfect because she knew exactly what the band was to be about, and the feeling I wanted to have with it.
We met our drummer Wilbrahammer years ago when he was playing in a local death metal band. When our old drummer, Morrellhammer, left, we asked if he wanted to come and jam. He fitted in straight away, which was a huge relief for us. Emily and I are not so easy to become friends with, we’re very hermetic and keep to ourselves, so the idea of having to find a replacement drummer was a daunting task. We don’t let people into our lives too easily, and you have to really let someone in to be in a band with them. Fortunately straight away Wilbrahammer was perfect, he fitted in well with us. He’s definitely ‘one of us’.
Doom as a genre has become more popular lately, bigger non-doom labels are signing doom acts, for instance Metal Blade with Pilgrim or the renowned Roadburn festival that sold out in 7 minutes?
It is a very exciting time for doom. The last 18 months or so have produced some fantastic albums, such as Pilgrim’s Misery Wizard, as well as the excellent doom artefacts by Orchid, Pallbearer, Serpent Venom, The Gates Of Slumber, Procession, The Wounded Kings, Saturnalia Temple, Bong, Conan… The list goes on! It’s fantastic to see Roadburn being so popular. We would absolutely love to play there, and people ask why we haven’t yet, the answer is that we haven’t been asked. It would be wonderful to play it, though. Next year’s event will be incredible, with the Electric Wizard Acid Orgy.
And it’s amazing to see Electric Wizard becoming doom’s beacon to the world. When I first discovered them they were known as unreliable fuckups who didn’t turn up at their own gigs, now they’ve turned into something approaching this generation’s Hawkwind. Their gig at the Forum in London in March was one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen. It was an incredibly intense night, I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
Will you cross the Channel to our country anytime soon?
Hopefully yes! Now that God Curse Us is out we are looking for ways to get to Europe to play. If anyone reading this can help up out with getting over the Channel to play, please get in touch!
Do you feel ready to take over the mantle that Cathedral and Solstice for instance, have left behind for British doom?
We still stand in the great shadows cast by these incredible bands, and to consider ourselves worthy of picking up their torch is impossible for me. I do hope that we and other bands like Serpent Venom can continue to keep the doom flames burning now that Cathedral are gone. As for Solstice, I saw them in London a while back and they were killer. Absolutely amazing.
Most doom musicians are great fans of the genre itself? Do you follow your brethren’s output? For example, what do you think of the new Saint Vitus?
As I say, I am absolutely obsessed with doom, so I am constantly keeping an eye on what is coming out.
The new Saint Vitus album is great. It’s a wondrous thing when a band like that, whose reputation and name has become more meaningful over time since they split up and they’ve become something almost mythical, can make a new album with the same spirit and feeling of their older works. The old magic is still there, which was amazing to hear.
God curse us, every one!