Brimstone Coven - Brimstone Coven - (6.5/10)
Published on September 19, 2014
Who’s up for some 70’s-inspired occult doom metal with classic rock overtones? Formed by three members of West Virginian death metal band Entropy, and Obsequiae bassist Andrew D’Cagna, Brimstone Coven put out an EP in 2012 and a debut full-length in 2013. After signing with Metal Blade Records, both releases have been remastered and are presented as a self-titled compilation. Expect groovy satanic vibes, shameless Pentagram-worshipping riffs, and choruses tailored to nodding along.
The first ten tracks on Brimstone Coven come from the full-length II. Wavering between traditional doom metal fare and more upbeat pieces in the spirit of contemporaries such as Year Of The Goat, the formula feels slightly derivative. Disregarding the increasingly oversaturated choice of subgenre, the band manages to find a distinctive voice when they fully embrace their lurking weirdness. With a bone-chilling groove and eerily chanted vocals, “The Black Door” stands out by being a unique and brilliant take on the occult rock trend. D’Cagna’s thumping bass unswervingly stands out by providing an ominous doomy backbone, and the cultish backing vocals create a ritualistic atmosphere. Guitarist Corey Roth may wear his influences proudly, but still puts his own spin on the romping hooks and solos. There is nothing outright spectacular about the hymns of Brimstone Coven, but pieces like “The Folly Of Faust” and “The Seance” are good ceremonial fun.
The final seven songs on the compilation first appeared on the 2012 debut EP, illustrating how the band’s sound evolved over the course of only a year. Obviously struggling to find their personal path, the music is imitative to the point where I honestly thought I was listening to an unreleased Witchcraft-demo. Billed as bonus tracks, the main interest here is to see a band progressing, and in that sense it certainly helps putting the preceding material in a better light. To be fair, at the time of recording, the band was only a year old, and Witchcraft in turn started as a Pentagram tribute-act. At the very least, the Brimstone Coven EP is a solid imitation of both Magnus Pelander and Bobby Liebling.
Mainly of interest to insatiable fans of throwback doom, Brimstone Coven shows promise without delivering much out of the ordinary. To their credit, the first half of the compilation absolutely nails that coveted wicked sensation, making this Occult doom with a capital O. If they can keep up the momentum between releases, their next outing has some serious potential. For the time being, Brimstone Coven is a good effort, but falls a few blood-filled chalices short of greatness.