This is the first full-length album from Witchrist, a New Zealand band playing death metal.
The production on this album is shockingly heavy; the crushing bass and down-tuned guitars summon a solid wall of thunder, broken only by the crisp cymbals and echoing, howling vox. Even so, the individual riffs are just audible beneath, giving this album an impact you can feel in your gut. Turn it the fuck up!
Witchrist combine Realm of Chaos-era Bolt Thrower, old Incantation, and militant black metal into a monolithic mass of eerie, shifting riffs and pounding drums. Slow, doomy sections occasionally break the surface, struggle, then drown beneath the churning surface. Something like this could easily have been entirely devoid of structure, but the discerning listener will discover a rich vein of distinct riff patterns and drum lines beneath the chaos; songs like "The Cauldron" pack multiple layers of guitar work into a single coherent whole. Likewise, the filthy, disgusting vocals lurk just within the realm of sanity, luring the unwary listener into penetrating deeper into the secrets of the Beheaded Ourorboros.
This album's combination of overwhelming atmosphere and hidden complexity is exceptional; both are in full flourish here, yet neither subtracts from the other. This album is a constant challenge -- mesmerizing and hypnotic one moment, mind-blowingly complicated the next -- and thus rewards multiple listens like no other. From the crushing, reverberating force of "Sorcerer of Lightning" to the dual-vocal insanity of "Deathbitch", there's more than enough for three or four albums here... which is probably why Beheaded Ouroboros is better than any three or four albums I can name this year, also.