Karyn Crisis’ Gospel Of The Witches – Salem’s Wounds


About as close to perfect as it gets…

Review by Jason Guest

Century Media

Release date: 9 March 2015

In the making since 2009, Karyn Crisis’ Gospel Of The Witches’ debut album Salem’s Wounds is here. Inspired and informed by the appearance of Arcadia, this album represents the Old Ways as taught to Crisis by the ghost of the ancient Italian Witch. Whether you believe in witches, ghosts, spirituality, the occult, etc. or not, if ever an album so long in the making could be considered worth the wait, then this is it. The combination of Crisis’s artistic and spiritual vision, lyrics and performance, and Tiso’s peerless ability to render the emotional, the introspective, and the insightful into music, this is about as close to perfect as it gets.

Karyn’s vocals are given a broad range. Whether shrieking, screaming, roaring with rage, bleeding with passion and mystical insight, or melodically whispering her inner selves, her performance is not of this earth. When she sings, the thin veil between the known and the unknown becomes transparent and the mysteries that envelope us are revealed. And with Immolation’s Ross Dolan and Tombs’ Mike Hill (who will also be playing bass and guitar, respectively, for live performances) providing deep and demonic backing vocals to add layer upon layer to her invocations, Salem’s Wounds becomes all the more commanding.

As on his Ephel Duath and Manuscripts Don’t Burn material, Davide Tiso is the master of matching emotional weight with incredible songwriting and an infallible technical ability. Where with Ephel Duath (a band that will be sorely missed), Tiso leant heavily towards the extreme and the avant-garde, rather than extended instrumental passages to convey what cannot be expressed verbally, here he focuses on the music as the vehicle for Crisis’s mystical lyrics and enchanted atmospherics. His guitar and bass work is measured, deliberated, and intricately designed, augmented by Vaura’s Charlie Schmid’s measured and precisely executed drum-work.

But what is outstanding musicianship without equally outstanding songs? From the declarative ‘Omphalos’ through to the affirmative elevation of ‘The Ascent’, all are superbly crafted. Taken individually or as part of the whole, there is not one track that doesn’t belong here and not one that is out of place. Salem’s Wounds is an album to listen to from start to finish time and again and without end, an experience that no review can capture. Ever.

Karyn Crisis’ Gospel Of The Witches – SalemsWounds20159.5 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Omphalos
  2. The Alchemist
  3. Ancient Ways
  4. Aradia
  5. Mother
  6. Father
  7. Goddess Of Light
  8. Howl At The Moon
  9. Pillars
  10. The Secret
  11. Salem’s Wounds
  12. The Sword + The Stone
  13. The Ascent