Witch Vomit – Funeral Sanctum

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There is a general notion that suggests a blue cover artwork for a death metal album is a must-buy in the genre as we have a few examples of legendary bands that have had a blue album cover like Death’s “Spiritual Healing”, Entombed’s album “Left Hand Path”, Morbid Angela’s “Altars of Madness”, Luciferion’s “Demonication (The Manifest)” and Krabathor’s “Cool Mortification” but it seems that Portland Oregon-based death metal act Witch Vomit has a similar treat for the fans. Their third full-length album “Funeral Sanctum” released by 20 Buck Spin on April 5th is an onslaught of cavernous brutality.

The notable difference here is the deeper grunts of the vocals that are more in the vein of a cavernous style of old-school death metal. The resulting sound is more vicious and brutal than the previous album ‘Buried Deep In A Bottomless Grave’. Witch Vomit managed to incorporate some elements from black metal as well. This somehow injects a twist of aggression and melodeath metal to provide a grittier sound to the new songs. Nevertheless, the pace of the drums is blisteringly fast and crafted in a structured style that gives the album a refreshing trait.

Songs like ‘Endless Fall’ and ‘Blood of Abomination’ constantly drive the old-school Swedish sound into the mix and these songs feature some scorching rhythms, grooves, and blast beats. It is something intense that keeps the listener hooked on the deep guttural growls. The work of the guitar is as honed as the band prepares you for an unholy carnage. The riffs carry more weight and are well-composed.

Listening to the new songs gave me the impression that I was listening to Autopsy at a faster pace. However, there is also a twist of melodic black and death metal embedded into the songs. Witch Vomit always delivers concise songs and the new album is no different from the previous ones except the band has expanded its ability by exploring new grounds. Be it melodeath or black metal in the Swedish way, any fan would find this album so engaging and well-structured in songwriting. Aside from that, the riffs and drumming are the backbones of the album.

Most of the songs begin at a mid-tempo pace ‘Serpentine Shadows’, for example, has a slower drum beating the snare perfectly fits with the churning riffs and the guitars are upfront with the solos ripping through the tempo changes. Witch Vomit plays death the way it’s meant to be played. There are plenty of mid-tempo sections that maintain the signature sound of the band. The mixing is excellent and well-balanced; the songs are coherent but more importantly there is a sense of change in the songwriting.

For some faster-paced songs, we got some nasty old-school crushers like ‘Decaying Angelic Flesh’ which seems to have plenty of swaggering chainsaw riffs and thrashing drums. The vocals are top-notch and when it comes to riffing the album is very consistent at delivering a bone-crushing slab of old-school death metal.

The main riff on ‘Black Wings of Desolation’ is fucking killer, the riffs fall in the right place with tremolos-picked riffs combined with ripping blast beats and oozing melodic guitar work. The influence of black metal on this album is the highlight for utilizing scathing tremolos, melodies and catchy guitar harmonies.

The aggressive tone of the guitars and the solo/lead work slowly grips you until the drum throttles into high speed with catchy riffs conveying harmonies on ‘Dominion of a Darkened Realm’ is akin to Swedish black/death metal bands; yet ‘Funeral Sanctum’ breaks the ice and impressively fits in the Swedish territory.

The punkish blackened onslaught on ‘Endarkened Spirits’ injects primitive elements of raw and organic thrash metal and the interlude track ‘Abject Silence’ thrives on a melodic momentum that reminds me of classic albums like Dissection’s ‘Storm of the Light’s Bane’.

Witch Vomit ends the album with a varied twist of a slow and ominous death metal track ‘Funeral Sanctum’. The cold tone of the deep growls, and the sporadic shift of the drums leading into a slower section with a dual guitar rhythm, is a great way to conclude the album.


  • Music / Songwriting 9/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 9/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 9/10
  • Originality 8/10

Witch Vomit’s ‘Funeral Sanctum’ is full of organic riffing melodic harmonies and slow sections that make this album worthy for fans.

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