Witch Vomit
Funeral Sanctum


3.5
great

Review

by Vasilis S. CONTRIBUTOR (38 Reviews)
April 5th, 2024 | 52 replies


Release Date: 04/05/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Channeling of darkness.

Among the numerous admirable bands in the old school death metal revival wagon that has been glaringly marching for the last 15 years, Witch Vomit from Portland, Oregon and especially their second full length album Buried Deep in a Bottomless Grave from 2019, is one of my favorites. Without reinventing the wheel, their own outlook on the archaic Swedish formulas, parsed with discernible compositional talent and enthusiasm, has made them stand out to me as I have been enjoying more or less every single release since their inception in 2012. The third full-length album, Funeral Sanctum, arrives five years after Buried Deep..., on a seemingly refurbished but not entirely new route for the band.

What immediately catches the eye is the sinister cover art, done once again by Matt Stikker (who has designed covers for Outer Heaven among others, apart from the previous Witch Vomit releases). The concept this time is distinctly different from before, embracing black metal-ish aesthetics suffused in blue color as an encomium to the iconic paintings of Necrolord back in the 90’s. On top of that, the band follows a similar kind of rabbit hole when it comes to the music in Funeral Sanctum, which has now introduced beloved Scandinavian black / death metal melodicism to the straight-on death metal savagery that has been the identity of the band up to this point. While this does not come as a full surprise after close examination of their back catalog, this approach has now been adopted more clearly, and relatively adequately too.

Witch Vomit’s affinity towards Dissection shines through the whole of the album, not just with the cover art or song titles. The band has indirectly employed the playstyle of the early, seminal works of the Swedish legends, yet without sounding identical, like e.g. the first three Thulcandra albums. Funeral Sanctum starts with a two minute guitar introduction “Dying Embers”, which is quite reminiscent of the opening in Storm of the Light’s Bane, and could hit a sensitive nerve for the fans of that band. For a few seconds, the initial melodies of “Serpentine Shadows” bring Dissection’s “Frozen” in mind, while pieces like “Blood of Abomination”, “Endless Fall” and the self-titled track are open love letters to the Swedish melo-black scene, and especially bands such as Necrophobic / Unanimated.

Nevertheless, Funeral Sanctum does not roam too far from the band’s death metal foundations, starting from the deep growls of Tony Thomas, which have remained intact compared to previous albums. The more evident death metal patterns borrow elements from the early Finnish scene and specifically Depravity / Funebre, while a few of the more middle-paced sections here and there could be distantly related to Convulse's debut. There’s wonderful solos in the record, smoothly blended in the enveloping co-dominion of melodic black and death metal, most successfully showcased in “Decaying Angelic Flesh” and “Black Wings of Desolation”, the record's highlights. Additionally, clocking at barely one minute, the strikingly short “Endarkened Spirits” is really well made and stands out as a tune that runs in a grindcore time frame, without sounding anything like grindcore.

On the other hand, the record may leave a sense of holding back a bit at times. This can partially be attributed to its production, which is otherwise fairly organic, yet it doesn’t really carry out a hard-hitting impact as was the case with a few, older releases from Witch Vomit. For instance, the band’s EP Abhorrent Rapture from 2021 had an absolutely devastating sound, and still contained some of their melodic explorations (namely in the track “Necrometamorphosis”) that fully manifest themselves now in Funeral Sanctum. The band maintains their regular runtime of approximately 30 minutes, which is optimal for old school death metal, but maybe not for this novel prototype album. Since the more melodic elements find their way into the compositions, the more time is necessary for the music to establish itself, I believe Funeral Sanctum would come across fuller and more plentiful in content with another 5 - 10 minutes of music, especially considering that the second interlude “Abject Silence” felt like a filler moment for me.

Be that as it may, the album’s overall impression is fairly positive and shows how Witch Vomit are not only continually driven, but also well-versed in direct and filthy, as well as melodic extreme metal. The band pays a tribute to classic bands from the northern hemisphere but doesn’t lose its character in the process, and what Funeral Sanctum does really well is merging the different elements it consists of. This kind of compositions, with these vocals on top of the instrumentation, still preserve the band's identity and result in an overly decorous offering by them. Fans of all the aforementioned references and artists will most likely have a feast on Funeral Sanctum, as they should.



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user ratings (59)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
NightOnDrunkMountain
Contributing Reviewer
April 5th 2024


646 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was torn between 3.5 and 4 for this!

BookoftheFallen
April 5th 2024


1078 Comments


New Dan Seagrave core

evilford
April 5th 2024


64338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sweet, gotta check

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
April 5th 2024


11592 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think they're getting a little better with every release but still just a 3.5 good death metal band.

InfernalDeity
Contributing Reviewer
April 5th 2024


598 Comments


Great rev. I'm going to check it out for sure

frozencarl
April 5th 2024


1649 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

really good review! love their foray into melodeath, that subgenre needs more death-y albums. I was hearing more of Dismember's The God That Never Was than Dissection, but I think the comparison is still apt, especially given the album art m/

evilford
April 5th 2024


64338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cover is absolutely sick

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
April 5th 2024


26022 Comments


sloppy drumming kinda kills this one

ShadowRemains
April 5th 2024


27766 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

i didn't think the drumming was that bad?

Kusangii
April 5th 2024


6579 Comments


sick art work

Hawks
April 5th 2024


88074 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Bout 2 turn this on now!

Hawks
April 5th 2024


88074 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Def with Game on this except this is my first time jamming these guys. Def rulez but nothing that puts it over the top. Great for riffs and beers though I think. M///

evilford
April 5th 2024


64338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah that's about what I got from it. Probably a 3.0 or 3.5 but ill listen again before I decide

Hawks
April 5th 2024


88074 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It has enough catchy riffs for me to be a solid 3.5 but no higher. Def good stuff for what it is though.

Dedes
Contributing Reviewer
April 5th 2024


10029 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's a 5 on basis of band name alone

NightOnDrunkMountain
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2024


646 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Do witches vomit?

Hawks
April 6th 2024


88074 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'd like to think that they do.

DDDeftoneDDD
April 6th 2024


22329 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

3.5 so far

DDDeftoneDDD
April 6th 2024


22329 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Btw they do vomit and they use it as special ingredient

DDDeftoneDDD
April 6th 2024


22329 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Glad the algo showed me Fulci. Even if half the record is full synth, those are propper riffs on the first half! Shine



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