Witchskull
A Driftwood Cross
(2020)
Crank this to 10.7 of 11
|    Editor's Pick
Genre:
Metal
Sounds Like:
The Sword, Droids Attack, Khemmis
Saturday, May 9, 2020
In our world of deep sonic exploration we will occasionally hit some bizarre conundrums. Perhaps our biggest head scratcher is that of the Australian trio Witchskull. To put it bluntly, the question at hand is ... how the fuck are these guys not HUGE yet? How is it possible to put out music this exceptional and continue to fly under the radar? Witchskull's vision and the tracks they lay down should absolutely catch like wildfire. This is not a situation where multiple rotations are required to absorb the vibe or angles intended. No this is straight-shooting fucking sonic brilliance.  

In 2018 Witchskull had released one of the best metal records to come across our rotation in quite some time.  Coven’s Will easily became our number one album of the year registering a massive 10.5 out of 11 score. We backtracked from this, immersing ourselves into their  impressively raw and cutting debut album The Vast Electric Dark also a cauldron of distinct and inspiring metal. Well the find just keeps on giving because A Driftwood Cross sets the bar even higher with 37 minutes of jaw-dropping adrenaline that is drenched in melodies of the soul. 

Lead vocalist and guitarist Marcus DePasquale continues his vocal gymnastics with pinpoint despair. Stop with the Ozzy/Sabbath comparisons. Listen to the unique vocal tones that Marcus brings, its on another planet. We’re still not sure how he focuses on the riffs while belting out such furious and absorbing lyrics. The bass work of Tony McMahon and drumming of Joel Green blend beautifully just the right intensity. A Driftwood Cross takes even bolder tangents on than the first two albums. The eight tracks dive into wild contrast making the escalations on each track even more majestic. While power and energy are signature to the Witchskull sound, this new endeavor infuses more patience showing how versatile the trio can be. Ultimately it is the beauty in the melodies that make this album so exceptional. The hooks on A Driftwood Cross never get old and the heavy dynamic layers only accentuate each listen.

Tracklist: 
1. Black Cathedrals 04:56 
2. Baphomet's Child 03:07 
3. This Silent Place 03:40 
4. The Red Altar 05:47 
5. Dresden 05:35 
6. March of Winter 04:08 
7. Nero Order 05:21 
8. A Driftwood Cross 05:55 

Standout Track(s): 
"The Red Altar" has absolutely everything we want in a song. Gut-wrenching sadness that blossoms into majestic triumph. This track has some of the most impressive contrast and clearly achieve's the pinnacle of a very high plateau. Not far behind is “Dresden” with its infectious vintage NWOBHM horse-trot rhythmic fuzz, making it almost impossible not to prance wildly about your surroundings.  

Adult Beverage Pairing:
No question we have to go with one of the top 3 brewers of all time to blend perfectly with Driftwood Cross. Sixpoint Brewery from Brooklyn, NY is a sensational beer haven. Their slim design and hoppy masterpieces are a true blessing. We recommend immensely their limited edition 'Puff Puff'. At 9.8% ABV this fucker hits home so smooth. If you are a fan of Resin and thought it could not get better, behold the brilliance of Puff Puff in its most raw form: pulled straight from the tanks, still densely packed with pure hop particulate for extra potency. This cloudy formulation is stratospheric.Breathe deep for that second hit! 

ROTATION RECAP: 
Vocal Command
10.9 out of 11

Risk of Subwoofer Damage
10.5 out of 11

Captivation and Variety
10.7 out of 11

Weight of the Heavy
10.3 out of 11

Lyrics and Song Structure
10.6 out of 11

Overall Album Flow
10.8 out of 11

Album Cover Aesthetics
9.7 out of 11

Production Value
10.8 out of 11 

Final Thoughts:
Much like that steady rising stock that continues to hit 52 week highs on the market, perhaps A Driftwood Cross will indeed catch like wildfire through word of mouth stock tips. While it should be the Amazon of blue chips, we are perfectly content solidifying our portfolio with this steady rising still hidden gem.

Witchkull's third release has the proud distinction of breaking our dial at an immense 10.7 out of 11, dethroning our long-time leader dating back to 2016 Strippers in Love. A feat we thought not possible. Congrats Witchskull and thank-you for honing even further your insanely impressive metal vision. 

Line-up: 
Marcus DePasquale - Vocals and Fretwork 
Tony McMahon - Bass 
Joel Green - Drums

Follow Witchskull: Facebook / Rise Above Records
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