Witnesses
The Collapse

If I had a 2020 “do over” for my top albums of the year, I can confidently say WitnessesDoom II would be on it. Not only on it, but easily in the top five. Not number 1, as I picked Unleash The ArchersAbyss and will stand firmly by it as it’s a god damned modern classic and if you don’t think so, your opinion means nothing to me! I digress… Anyway, this is to say I really liked Doom II and when I saw The Collapse announced, I pretty much had an instant ejac.

Side note; this better not disappoint me like everything and everyone else this year. No pressure, but step up, Witnesses. I need you like Ben Affleck needs acting school (he was terrible in that film). That joke is for me and not you.

After a short intro called “Entrance (giggity),” the first official track, “The Collapse” kicks in. What’s apparent to me immediately is that the production is a little murkier than the previous album, but not overwhelmingly. Once the vocals kick in surrounding the leading doomy riff, I just want to point out that if this vocal style is not your cup of tea, it doesn’t vary much throughout the album, so if this makes you want to turn it off, go ahead. Your loss. If I could make an instant comparison, it would probably be to the vocals on the Stone Healer record I reviewed earlier this year. There are also a lot of clean guitars utilized throughout the track, but my dude can RIFF. After this first track, despite its 7 plus minute length, I knew that I was probably going to enjoy this record.

Before going any further, I want to relay that this album is 6 tracks and nearly 40 minutes. On top of that, there’s a short intro and an interlude, so some of the songs are quite lengthy. Let’s take for example the 8 plus minute third track, “Repose.” It begins with a bit of an extended intro, which is a distorted guitar and vocals. Once the drums and bass kick in, the vocals become more intense, but still clean. In the guitars, a little over halfway through, there’s a bit of a, believe it or not, southern rock vibe I hear, but maybe that’s just me. If there is one slight misstep on the album, it’s that the end of this song segues into the previously mentioned “Interlude,” and slows the momentum just a little.

However, this is one of those rare albums where the momentum actually picks up again at the end. In my opinion, the two best tracks are the final ones, “They Giveth and Taketh Away” and “It Will Come for You, It Comes for Everyone” respectively. The former is nearly 11 minutes whereas the latter is barely over 5, so there’s a little balance. Where Witnesses never lacks is in the good songwriting department. Granted, with this type of metal, there’s not much of a difference between, say doom, post metal, and even shoegaze. I would fit “They Giveth and Taketh Away” in the post metal category and would place “It Will Come for You, It Comes for Everyone” more in the traditional Candlemass doom spectrum, and they’re possibly my two favorite tracks on the album.

So, here’s the verdict; This is awesome. Is it as good as the previously mentioned Doom II? Man, I don’t know… which is a good thing. There are differences. Firstly, The Collapse is shorter, and it feels shorter. It feels more immediate and urgent. What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t be surprised if this ends up on my list. I have been listening to it constantly. I don’t know that I could recommend this enough. Sometimes, the bands who go unsigned really make me scratch my head. Witnesses is one of those, as I feel they could really blow up if given the right label and momentum.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
October 19th, 2021

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