Live Reports

WITCHORIOUS : Les Cuizines, Chelles

With a dozen gigs behind them in this year that saw the release of their debut album K-RPM decided to make the trip to Les Cuizines in Chelles to watch on as WITCHORIOUS worked their magic on their home crowd.

This was in fact the fourth time so far this year that we have caught Witchorious in concert, either by design or by chance (their last-minute appearance on the bill with Grandma’s Ashes and Decasia at Issy-Les Moulineaux gave us our first, unexpected exposure of the band) and it is no understatement to say that this doom-laden power-trio have made a huge impact on us.

Formed in 2019, the band consists of lead singer/guitarist Antoine Auclair, bassist/singer Lucie Gaget and drummer Paul Gaget. A brief summary of their story reads that they wrote songs and released an EP during the days of the pandemic, before completing the writing and recording of their debut album (produced by none other than Francis Caste) by the end of 2022. With the album finished the band then took their time to ensure a professional release, and so it was not until February 2024 that their glorious debut album was finally released on Argonauta Records.

This is an attitude that ties in precisely with their live performance; a sense of professionalism, a lack of impatience – it is all evident in their show.

So, returning to the gig at Les Cuizines in Chelles – Lucie is the first to appear on stage, a thunderstorm of distorted bass, before Antoine and Paul appear, leading us straight into Watch Me Die … not the album opener, not the single, but the six-minute epic from the last quarter of their album. Such is the strength of the material they have to choose from.

There is no fighting for attention between the elements of this band – none of the instrumentation is lost in the live mix. Like all metal, ultimately, this is guitar music, but the bass and drums are so prominent, so important, that you can easily tune into what each band member brings to the party … and the whole is indeed the sum of its parts. This is doom metal, stoner doom, but it’s also much more than that. The songs are instantly memorable, indeed, the main, stabbing riff from the sort-of-but-not-quite title track “The Witch” will stick with you all night and into the morning, just as will the melody of fourth song of the night, Eternal Night will. It is at this point in the set that Lucie leaves her bass aside to take over lead vocal – and theremin – duties, and it is fair to say that this is a stand-out moment in the set – not because the quality is any more than we have already witnessed, but because of the contrast it offers us to the intense aggressiveness of Antoine’s vocal delivery. But it does more than just change the tone for a moment. It gives the band depth, an extra dimension. It suggests that there will be a lot more to come from the band in the future

If the band continue on this trajectory we can only assume that the peak of the French metal scene – hitting the stages of Hellfest – is going to come in the next two years, surely. They have it, they have exactly what it takes and what is needed, and when the day comes, they are going to take the place by storm. Have no doubt about that. In the meantime, we are going to enjoy following their progress as they continue to plant the seeds, playing around the country on bigger and bigger stages that are now surely within their reach.

photos taken from Witchorious gigs at Le Reacteur (Issy-Les-Moulineaux), Supersonic (Paris), La Maroquinerie (Paris) and Les Cuizines (Chelles) 2024

words and photos : Brian Downie