Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Bell Witch: Longing
This Seattle duo decided to open their album with a 20 dirge. While compromised of Samothrace's bassist Dylan Desmond who utilizes a six string bass here. This album has gotten a lot of buzz since its November release on Profound Lore and I can say right off the bat with out having to give many listens that I enjoy their brand of Ambient laden funeral much more than what I heard from the most recent Samothrace.
Desmond plays the bass with the delicacy of a guitarist rather than a bassist, which attributes to it sounding so much like a guitar in fact I had to do some clicking around on the inner webs to confirm there is not guitar on the album. So he must have fairly light stings on his bass to achieve some of these sounds.
There is a lot of space on this album but what is played is very much about placement and there are not any wasted notes on this album. While the first song requires a little patience by the second song "Rows( of endless waves) things really get interesting and melodic. Eight minutes in you hear what convinced me it was a bass all along as it gets oppressively heavy.
The vocals really need to be commended , while if you are used to reading my reviews then you know of course I'm a big fan of actual singing, as just growling can all to often be a cop out, but the growls on this are as impressive as the signing maybe even more so. The singing gets the job more than well done, though there are some choices of vocal tones employed, like his upper range for some reason reminds ,e of the guy from Interpol. I have heard it called nasal and while it's forward placed its not like Modest Mouse in the intonation as there is more resonance to keep it from sounding like a whine. It cool to me because there are already enough Ozzy clones. The death rattling gurgle on the first song earned its place as one of my favorite doom or death metal growls.
The title track slowly crashes together with the notes ringing out into the empty spaces. The droning vocal chant slides in at the four and a half minute mark though the do not relent with the lethargy they hit the accents with. Fans of Earth and Sunno can appreciate this one, for me it's a good background throb, but doesn't catch we like the others.
"Beneath the Mask" Lightly creeps in with Vincent Price sample layered over it from one of the Edgar Allen Poe films he did for hammer, it is almost an intro for "I Wait" which hammers into place from the first dirty note. The six string bass sound particularly dark and creepy under the low vocal moan, before the song crescendos into the higher almost black metal shriek and then plunges into the guttural depths alternating between the two. At about four minutes in a saw there were eight minutes left and wondered where they could go from that point and the answer came in a dreary collapse. There's a solo of sorts , though more of a single note melody that floats along. The vocal take on almost the feeling of Gregorian chants in this part. The song takes almost a jam like quality at it reforms and the track entitled outro really feels like a refrain on a them established before so I think of it as the resolution to " I Wait".
I just reviewed Ahab, and while I liked " the Giant" the despair in this one resonates with me more. What Bell Witch lack in chop they make up for it the passion they play with. I'm not saying they are a better band than Ahab, it's just one of those things when an album clicks with you. Sometimes it just your perspective in where your re at in that moment in your life. So if you want to know how I feel right now on new years eve pop this one on. So though sparse in actual songs four out of six ill give those a 9 and the first song alone at twenty minutes makes this way more than an e.p.