Bell Witch
Longing


4.0
excellent

Review

by Michael Snoxall USER (47 Reviews)
December 25th, 2012 | 108 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “The way is not easy, I know, but I will take you by the hand and lead you through the cruel light into the velvet darkness.”

Blending drone doom and sludge, Seattle’s Bell Witch consists of two members: Dylan Desmond (bass, vocals) and Adrian Guerra (drums, vocals). The duo creates a musical trio of bass, percussion and vocals that evoke feelings of despair, passion, hope and hopelessness. Juxtaposed images of black and white, discordant, yet blending into an abyss of such balance and structure. Bringing gooseflesh, chills and music to get lost in--or even to--with the band’s debut album Longing. At times I truly wonder how only three instruments can create such opaque music. This is one of those times.

Bell Witch is perhaps best introduced by the suitably placed opening track ‘Bails (of Flesh),’ which runs as a juggernaut ticking just over twenty minutes. Encompassing almost everything that one needs to go in level-headed to the rest of Longing, ‘Bails (of Flesh)’ characterises the band perfectly as melancholic riffs roll in like the plague on the bodies of the dead. Slow, heavy, the reverb on the bass feeds back into the microphone and creates a steady rising atmosphere. Guerra’s minimalistic drum work complements Desmond’s bass lines to bundle into a deep, droning style before crashing into a strong, much more inharmonious section of bellowed growls and chugging bass riffs. Quieting down again and the raw base of this music is quite moving in its execution, incomprehensible chanting soaring back over the original riff as it all comes full circle. All of this drones on and gradually erodes away into nothing but the slight crashing of cymbals, then Bell Witch throws us head on into a jarring, cacophonous body of thick, riffs that almost feel like they’re dripping from the bass gradually and sedate.

Little other elements are introduced throughout the record. ‘Rows (of Endless Waves)’ brings with it a more varied harsh vocal style, executing screeching highs as well as the dark, guttural lows on the opening track, as well as being the album’s prime demonstration of clean vocals. Both vocalists taking their time to shine and bring forth very different and very welcome flavours in their vocal styles, making the track stand out as one of the album’s best. As well as the track featuring slightly more prominent and sludge oriented bass work with tastefully done licks outside of the regular drone repetition of melody alongside dissonance. Fourth track ‘Beneath the Mask’ exploiting the band’s minimalist tendencies: the feedback of the microphone buzzing dully with a downtempo and lucid recurring riff, which serves as the backdrop for a powerful use of sampling (“Who are you beneath your mask?”/”Is my costume such a disguise that don’t recognise me?”)

Longing’s lowest point is on the track ‘Longing (the River of Ash).’ This track strips down most of what the two opening tracks built up and feels a bit monotonous by the end, which doesn’t fit in with the effectiveness of the band’s repetitious droning capabilities expressed all throughout the rest of the album. It brings back the same chanting presented on ‘Bails (of Flesh),’ but doesn’t quite feel as precise or as well-thought out, just sorting of being there and the tracks drags, leaden with an uninteresting rumbling song structure.

Where Longing shines, it really shines, bringing forth some of the most emotionally powerful metal experienced all year. At its lowest, it’s still wholly enjoyable despite dragging slightly. It does tend to detract from the experience and immersion a little, but isn’t a massive detriment to the album’s overall quality. Dark nights and long midnight walks will find themselves hand in hand with Longing, the two clearing the thought process for a little forlorn wandering and a rewarding listening experience. Bell Witch have crafted an utterly beautiful and admirable debut, may we only hope they continue developing this sound.



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user ratings (30)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
MichaelSnoxall
December 25th 2012


12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Album needed a review and I am more than happy to provide it. Just in time to spread the Christmas gloom.

MichaelSnoxall
December 25th 2012


12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

no replies. screw you all, I'm going to bed.

GiaNXGX
December 25th 2012


4867 Comments


I haven't listened to this yet but their demo was really promising, will have to. Great writing by the way Michael, have a pos.

Tyrael
December 25th 2012


20900 Comments


good work

pos

and dont complain about not getting replies it happens

MichaelSnoxall
December 25th 2012


12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks guys. This really tops their demo, Gia, I highly recommend it. Anyways, actually am going to bed now. I just hate it how the more obscure reviews get ignored. I'm guilty of not clicking on every random review I see too, but I should remedy that. Anyways, spread the Bell Witch word, guys m/

GiaNXGX
December 25th 2012


4867 Comments


Okay will dl later. Dont complain about not getting replies[2]; dude I just reviewed one of my favorite albums and only got 10 replies + 3 ghost negs, and I proof-read'd twice lol.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 25th 2012


6203 Comments


This band is all about bass and drums only?

This is very interesting.

Digging: Seduced (AT) - The Proclamation

BallsToTheWall
December 25th 2012


44630 Comments


Good band/art. Couldnt find a link for this.

Digging: Mare Cognitum - Phobos Monolith

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
December 25th 2012


3470 Comments


DRUM N BASS

good review, have a pos

BallsToTheWall
December 25th 2012


44630 Comments


Nice review as well.

CaptainDooRight
December 25th 2012


29915 Comments


excellent review and I dug your analogies ass well

gotta hear this hard, an easy pos

Digging: Impetuous Ritual - Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence

TheSpirit
December 25th 2012


17927 Comments


Everyone knows the Beatles are the best drum n bass band

InFiction
December 25th 2012


3686 Comments


Awesome review, as always., I'll have to check these guys out. The way you describe them remind me of Eagle Twin a lot, though I could be completely wrong about that. Pos'd, in any case.

MichaelSnoxall
December 25th 2012


12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Couldnt find a link for this.

There should be a few d/l links to be found by searching Filestube. That's how I got it.

Anyways, thanks for reading, guys. I always appreciate it.

mindleviticus
December 25th 2012


8292 Comments


looks interesting may check

Hawks
December 25th 2012


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This is so good.

MichaelSnoxall
December 25th 2012


12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

wrote dis 4 u hawsk < 3

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 26th 2012


10614 Comments


Fuck I need this.

Danka, Michael

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

GhettoHmbrglr
December 26th 2012


587 Comments


glad someone finally reviewed this. i've been quite enjoying it

MichaelSnoxall
December 26th 2012


12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Sweet dig, Potsy. Love me some Igorrr, haven't heard his new album yet.

Also, glad to introduce more people to the band. One of my favourite metal albums of the year.



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