Before Sunn O))) there was Burning Witch, formed in the mid ’90s by Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, although none of their recordings actually features Anderson who had started Goatsnake by that time. Crippled Lucifer is a reissue of their 1996 Towers… and 1997 Rift.Canyon.Dreams releases – two discs of fabulous doom. This release of Crippled Lucifer is expanded from the 1998 Southern Lord edition (subtitled Seven Psalms For Our Lord Of Light), which only featured seven tracks. It now has ten and an enormously thick booklet filled with gorgeous artwork … but don’t expect a novel charting the brief history of Burning Witch.
Listening to Burning Witch I can hear where Sunn0))) come from, but they aren’t the same band at all. The songs of both Crippled Lucifer EPs are guitar/bass/drum/vocal metal rather than the Sunn0))) wall of drone. Burning Witch’s came from the period when stoner/doom metal began to emerge and bands like Electric Wizard and Melvins appeared. Burning Witch are much more doom-laden than Electric Wizard though; yes it is possible – easily. Towers… and Rift.Canyon.Dreams are superb and utterly, brutally metal: stoner grunge hijacked and held to ransom by black metal. Vocalist Edgy 59 wails and screams over the O’Malley’s droning sludgy guitars. They took it one step further, heavier, and slower. It reminds me of Celtic Frost at their gloomiest and slowest, especially their recent release Monotheist or the early Frost incarnation Hellhammer.
Crippled Lucifer is an absolute classic. It deserves all the volume you can give it.