Arkham Witch - Legions of the Deep
Metal On Metal Records 2012
Legions of the Deep is Keighley quartet Arkham Witch's second album (following on from the demo and début full length On Crom's Mountain), a group of musicians who have paid their dues over the years in well known bands in the doom underground.
On the band's first release on Italy's Metal on Metal Records, and has a sound that whilst rooted in the doomier side of metal, transcends any such limitations to become, quite frankly, one big, bollocksy traditional Heavy metal album.
Starting with David Lund, a song about the leader of The Dew and the Light society in 1870s Keighley, over eight minutes, a complex tale of supposed slights between rival occultists*.
Backed up by an almost NWOBHM sounding riff, Simon Iff's unique vocal delivery plants you firmly amongst the mills and the lodge meetings of the upper class in Victorian Yorkshire, and the fact that there was a north/south divide even amongst upper class esoteric societies!
I love the little bit of spoken narration just before the solo in this track; it's the band setting out their table, inviting you into their parlour if you like, and setting the tone for the rest of the album to follow.
At The Mountains of Madness follows, and is built around some anthemic British Steel type riffing from Aldo and a thrash-like middle section showing that the band employ more traditional metal leanings than one might expect from a band considered by many to be "doom", this is also evident on the track Infernal Machine with it's chanted refrain of INFERNAL MACHINE-OI! which calls to mind the likes of Atrophy's Violent by Nature. The way Simon gets his larynx around the lyrics to Kult of Kutulu is worth hearing! There is a great one-two of Kult of Kutulu and the title track with it's Manilla Road-esque chorus (featuring a guest appearance from Leo of the band Forsaken) following each other, can't wait to hear this track played live, Emily's drumming coupled with John's bass playing providing the driving force for Aldo's NWOBHM/Thrashy riffs over the top.
I was initially surprised to hear the sea shanty-style section in the middle of the track, but a grin soon spread across my face! A sea shanty strait into a doomy evil riff. Not many records that happens on!
Intensely proud of their Yorkshire heritage, the ablum closes with We're From Keighley, an Orgasmatron-tempo track that speaks quite vocally of being in England, but not of it.
*More here; this is something I am still learning about. Not since the early days of hearing Iron Maiden for the first time have I felt compelled to go away and research the lyrical subject matter of songs as I have with this album.
That's got to be a compliment!