|Review: Bell Witch - Longing|
Label: Profound Lore Records
Year released: 2012
Genre: Funeral Doom
Review online: June 25, 2020
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Rated 4.33/5 (86.67%) (3 Votes)
Hailing from the bleak coasts of Seattle, Bell Witch have been stirring waves in the underground for quite some time, and it all started with their 2012 debut, Longing. Rather than the crushing sound I was expecting from the album cover, this band works a much more melancholic brand of Funeral Doom that focuses on evoking moods of barren fields, blasted forests, and abandoned homesteads filled with nothing but dust and painful memories. The arrangements are as drawn out as you'd expect, with songs often lingering on slow, crashing riffs that underpin hollow, sometimes mesmerizing melodies for minutes on end. There are harsh vocals on this, but they're relatively sparse, especially when compared to the sorrowful, almost chant-like clean vocals that appear for the more somber sections and stand out as a real highlight of their sound. The songs have a tendency to go on longer than they need to, however, and they tend to melt into one another without too much distinction between them. This isn't helped by the production being a bit muffled, which was clearly done to add to the ambiance of the album, but it also takes away some of the impact the music would otherwise have. Still, this kind of thing lives or dies by its ability to sweep you up in the mood, and with songs like the 20+ minute opener "Bails (of Flesh)" and the excellent "I Wait", it's clear to me that even at their earliest Bell Witch were much better at it than most of their peers. If you're a fan of Funeral Doom and you somehow missed this band like I did, get this album and fix that.
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