Bell Witch
Future's Shadow I: The Clandestine Gate


4.5
superb

Review

by Vasilis S. CONTRIBUTOR (42 Reviews)
April 21st, 2023 | 98 replies


Release Date: 04/21/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The most profound meditation session you ever had.

There was minimal promotion and hardly any time between the announcement and actual release of the new Bell Witch album, which seems to be part of a trilogy, and aimed to nail down and erect the quintessence of doom metal in the form of gargantuan, soul-drenching compositions. The same tactic was employed in 2017 with Mirror Reaper, as we now bear witness to The Clandestine Gate, which also has an apocalyptic cover art that’s just a pleasure to look at, and a track of no less than 1 hour and 23 minutes to go along with it.

In such an arrangement, the band, in a way, demands from the listener to make time and indulge in the experience, as there’s no singles, short track shortcuts or any other kind of shenanigans to get a quick feel of the work. You may as well set your phasers to “slow” as that’s what you’re going to get from The Clandestine Gate, an overwhelmingly massive album that glorifies the genre it is labeled under and makes a wondrous example of what could be achieved through it artistically. Feelings of sorrow and melancholy are strongly exerted from the intensely moving instrumentation, especially the guitar lines and background repetitive keyboards, both of which have been practiced in this manner before by artists within the funeral doom metal regime.

Variations of the vocals from clean voice chanting to deep growls are also incredible and indirectly mark the different sections of the whole piece, them and a handful of stripped down clean guitar parts scattered throughout and used as connection points for the record’s flow. The Clandestine Gate opens with pale church organ sounding keys, and presents its poignant character for about half an hour, before gathering some momentum for a few extra minutes in order to discharge its heavier, more ominous side that at certain moments, could distantly remind of 2006 – 2009 era Ahab, but more multi-layered musically. At the one hour mark emerge similar soundscapes like at the beginning of the album, and then on Bell Witch embark on a 20 minute session of more distinct guitar riffing, slightly (but really, really slightly) faster tempos to achieve the monumental closing of the whole thing, and let the dust settle.

The textures and melodies of The Clandestine Gate are characterized by heart-wrenching beauty, the vocals are excellent and these snare drums feel like pummeling through the core of the earth, constituting to an overly immersive record with heavy emotional charge and exquisite musicianship. It is generally more well-directed and focused than Mirror Reaper, revealing how Bell Witch probably took the time and by now actually managed to release a masterpiece of this size. Lay down your souls to the gods doom metal.



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user ratings (130)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
PumpBoffBag
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2023


1624 Comments


Dope, looking forward to hearing this

Beardog
April 21st 2023


5275 Comments


I guess this is good?

pizzamachine
April 21st 2023


27395 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Steak! Steeeeak!

Azog
April 21st 2023


1070 Comments


It's on Bandcamp, and I love it.

normaloctagon
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2023


4148 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Sweeet

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2023


61276 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

this is really good, but 50 mins in and it's yet to squeeze my soul in quite the same way as Mirror Reaper

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2023


61276 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Damn spoke too soon 57 minutes in is gorgeous

parksungjoon
April 21st 2023


47235 Comments


HOLY SHIT SOMEBODY ACTUALLY FIXED THE LOOKUP FUNCTION FOR THE RECOMMENDED BY REVIEWER SECTION

pizzamachine
April 21st 2023


27395 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

WTF IS THIS SORCERY

normaloctagon
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2023


4148 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

bless

Pikazilla
April 21st 2023


30447 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

slapper

DarkNoctus
April 21st 2023


12239 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

maybe i had my expectations too high but i'm not (as of yet anyway) detecting many substantive differences to this and mirror reaper. it's definitely good but to me mirror reaper was a thoroughly unique piece of work and i don't feel another album of the same is all that flattering this time around.

calmrose
April 21st 2023


6872 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

rules as expected

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2023


18258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9 | Sound Off

Comma mishap there in the first paragraph.



I haven’t been able to consume this in a single sitting yet. What I have heard has been massive and immersive so far.

kevbogz
April 21st 2023


6160 Comments


stellar review. my body isn’t ready for this

evilford
April 22nd 2023


65193 Comments


Oh shit new bell witch? Gotta check

Scheumke
April 22nd 2023


2694 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First Bell Witch for me and managed to get myself in a position to listen to the entire thing uninterrupted while at work. This is something else man, got me in a very nice trance. No idea what to rate it but loved it.



Colleague is seeing them live at Roadburn in my hometown this weekend and was super excited by it so I figured I'd check. Was a good call lol damn.

Flugmorph
April 22nd 2023


34640 Comments


perfect user ratings chart m/, nobody rate anymore!

Purpl3Spartan
April 22nd 2023


8775 Comments


Might peep this

DoofDoof
April 22nd 2023


15469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Not as dark sounding as MR, still decent



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