Sunday, November 26, 2017

Bell Witch: Mirror Reaper (2017)

First of all, I have to say, this is the best cover art I have seen in years.  It is incredibly creepy and imposing.  I would have probably bought this album just for the cover alone.  It looks so much better on the double gatefold vinyl sleeve.  But there is also the music, as Bell Witch has been rising as one of my favorite funeral doom metal bands over the last few months after picking up each of their recorded releases (including their demo) on cassette and vinyl.

Bell Witch's third album is an exercise in patience and attention as it is technically just one 84 minute long song called "Mirror Reaper (As Above, So Below)".  Several bands have attempted the one-song album over the years with some impressive results.  Just look at Edge of Sanity's Crimson, Sleep's Dopesmoker, and Insomnium's Winter's Gate, for examples of projects done well.  And Bell Witch have added their name to the list with this sprawling epic. 

It is not just the length of the album that requires fully immersing oneself into the music however.  As a funeral doom metal band, the music is painfully slow (in a good way) and drawn out.  There are no hooks, no memorable choruses, no real melodies.  It is just pure melancholic dread set to eerie, atmospheric, monolithic music.  Bell Witch accomplishes this task with just two members and no actual guitarist.  Their sound is bleak and massive without being heavy and loud.  It is a tribute to a former band member who had died.  In fact, one of the most poignant moments on the album is the use of previously unused vocal tracks recorded by the now-deceased band member, giving that much more weight to the heavy theme. 

Bell Witch have put out one of the great funeral doom releases with this.  It is so much more than just a terrific cover.  The music really fits in with the cover art and the music is dark and complex.  In my own opinion, it is much harder to make terrific slow music.  Bell Witch have made it an art form.

1 comment:

  1. I really wanted to love this album. The cover art is amazing, and when I picked this up I was hungry for a great funeral doom release. I've put it on twice, though, and for some reason I can't quite put my finger on, it just isn't hitting me the way I wish it did. I plan on revisiting it, and I'm hoping it grows on me.