Review: Witch Vomit – Buried Deep In A Bottomless Grave
Reviewing in a vacuum is probably the preferred way to do it by most bands. If an album is better than previous efforts, it shouldn’t shit on those past efforts, and if it’s not, it should stand alone. Normally, I try as much as possible to do that, but after Witch Vomit’s extremely acclaimed Poisoned Blood mLP annihilated the world a couple years ago, my excitement for this one was coloring my expectations a bit too much for a clean listen.
Fortunately, as it turns out, Buried Deep in a Rotten Grave stands well on its own merits and doesn’t waste time trying to show you that. There’s no long intro; there’s a single synth effect used for about eight seconds on opener “From Rotten Guts” and then Witch Vomit is already launching into a powerful and catchy riff. The core sound, as before, is not anything particularly new; the band play muscular and suffocating death metal that’s reminiscent of early American powerhouses with a bit of European melody added in.
It’s hard to point at any particular song as a great example of what Buried Deep sounds like because the record is impressively varied even as it continues to sound like Witch Vomit. Faster tremolo parts alternate with groovy power chords and even sections of doom and gloom, while the lead guitar keeps slower or more repetitive parts from getting stale with a varied attack that ranges from more discordant bits, repetitive off-kilter stuff that makes me think of Finland, and quick solos. Vocals alternate between deep gutturals and painful shrieks, and the drums move at a mile a minute during the faster sections without overplaying in slower ones—a sometimes rare judgement call for skilled drummers, but one that Filth handles behind the kit with ease. I can’t say that I ever noticed the bass as anything but a background rumble, but I assume that it’s a large part of the reason why the string assault is as thick as it is.
The production here is as monstrous as the music due to the one-two punch of Evan Mersky (recording and mixing) and Dan Randall (mastering). The instruments are all clearly audible (except the bass, which is a bit hard to distinguish from the guitar lines), but they don’t lose any punch for it, with the drums and guitars sounding particularly massive. Combined with the actual songwriting, the overall effect is decidedly modern in a way that lets the miasmal assault that is Witch Vomit properly wash over listeners rather than in the way that makes a lot of modern Nuclear Blast stuff sound so fucking shitty. It’s hard to say where this stands compared to Poisoned Blood and A Scream From The Tomb Below given how little time I’ve had to spend with it comparatively, but regardless, it’s a good record and I’m glad that Witch Vomit made it.
As an end note, it must be said that these fellows clearly like brevity just as much in Witch Vomit as they do in Torture Rack, which half of Witch Vomit also plays in—coming in at 27:43, Buried Deep In A Bottomless Grave is a whopping three seconds longer than last year’s Torture Rack album, and none of the four albums between both bands have hit the 31 minute mark yet. This is an advantage, as the albums are clearly written with this sort of length in mind, and it leaves you wanting more rather than feeling abrupt—so go forward and listen to some more Witch Vomit when you’ve finished this one, because it’s worth it!