Review: “To Disappear and to be Nothing” by Witnesses

Their sixth studio offering but considered by the band themselves as their first foray into Doom Metal, New York residents Matt Kozar (Guitar), Suvo Sur (Violin), Greg Schwan (Bass, Keys, Guitar, Lyrics & Arrangements), Kody Ternes (Vocals) and Mark Zonder (Drums) form Witnesses. “To Disappear and to be Nothing” is credited as having Guitars recorded at Feedback Studios in Chantilly, Virginia by Ken “Lazzo” Lasso and Drums recorded at Bill’s Place in North Hollywood, California by drummer Mark Zonder before Mixing at The Oak Lodge by bassist Greg Schwan and Mastering at 9250av by Doug Milton.

The first thing that strikes you about “A Game Of You” is just how good Ternes clean vocals are. He wouldn’t be out of place fronting an 80s Rock band and his soulful harmonics are a perfect match for Schwan’s lyrics. Now while the vocal delivery and the lyrics evoke a sense of despair, dread and impending doom to fit the genre bracket, the music doesn’t fit that typical Doom styling. Instead it occupies an Alternative Metal bracket with some well worked progressions between Stoner Sludge Rock a few other sub-genres that makes it an intriguing listen. “Consummatum est” translates from the Latin “It is finished” and has a slow burn mourning quality to it. The Violin adds a cinematic atmospheric touch to each song it appears on and it is kept subtle enough in the mix not to be overpowering. Musically the track is more like a soundscape on which the lyrics are painted and their is a gazing quality to it all. Instrumental passage “Sohn” replaces then electric guitars with acoustics and plays out a couple of minutes of a bright melodic exchange with patterns in concentric circles. It’s the breathing space between the longer songs with the total runtime being 32 minutes across all 5.

A statue floats downriver” returns to the Alternative Metal sounds with Schwan’s big bass sound driving the music forward with slower thoughtful ambience. The thought provoking nature of the lyrics means that they live with you long after the music has faded away, each song a well constructed tale with wonderful flow. “When a dark age comes, hold the light inside” sees the guitars cascade like waterfalls from a river to the sea as they accompany epic vocals and a huge, crashing drum sound. Fading off to a return after a false ending with some Crowbar esq riffs before building into its finale of a verse, this final cut is a stand out moment [8/10]

Track listing

  1. A game of you
  2. Consummatum est
  3. Sohn
  4. A statue floats downriver
  5. When a dark age comes, hold the light inside

To Disappear and to be Nothing” by Witnesses is out now and available over at bandcamp

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