Sunday, December 10, 2023

Bell Witch “Future's Shadow Part 1: The Clandestine Gate” & North American Tour: Oct 17 - Dec 16

The lowest descent into abyssal sound within the burgeoning global post-black metal world can be found in the newest strain of what is being called funeral doom. Foremost among them, Bell Witch in their new lineup with Aerial Ruin's Erik Moggridge, have descended deeper, and for longer, than most. Born of the death of drummer Adrian Guerra, their previous sprawling work, 2017's magisterial "Mirror Reaper" encompassed an auditory journey through the Hermetic axiom "As Above, So Below", as a conceptual traversing of the dichotomy of life and death. Bridging recordings from their previous incarnation, and unused vocal tracks from that period with work of the new lineup, this "Loving Tribute to Former Drummer Adrian Guerra", acts as a looming, Brobdingnagian titan spanning the two. As a pathway of entry into this musical world, Brad Sanders' essential overview, "Untrue And International: Living in a Post-Black Metal World", compliments the curation from this sphere that can be found in the past decade of excellent selections in The Quietus' Columnus Metallicus. The above resources sound the expanse of releases dominantly sourced from labels like, Hydrahead, Neurot, Ipecac, Deathwish, 20 Buck Spin, Dark Descent, Sargent House, Profound Lore, Season of Mist, Roadburn, The Flenser, and Relapse. Since the release of Guerra's final work with the band, Bell Witch have undertaken an even more tectonic series of works for the Profound Lore label. The first of these was a collaborative album with Aerial Ruin in 2020's, "Stygian Bough Volume 1", and earlier this year issuing the first of an epic trilogy, titled, “Future's Shadow Part 1: The Clandestine Gate”. Their lengthy trajectory touring North America with the album comes to a terminus in mid-December, with the final of their west coast dates at Neumos in their Northwest hometown. The Quietus spoke with the band on the eve of Clandestine Gate's release, bridging such concepts as about the cyclical nature of existence and taking their time with process and creation, such as the first entry in their new triptych of albums, "Same as it Ever Was: Bell Witch Interviewed". It is this premise, that of the Eternal Return, which informs the themes of Future's Shadow, as stated by bassist and vocalist, Dylan Desmond; "This of course is perhaps the most horrifying aspect to the eternal return - even if you were living a happy, fulfilled and productive life that you’d be proud to experience again, would living it over and over again eternally rob it of any meaning or purpose you may have found in it? There’s a recurring theme of ghosts in Bell Witch’s work, and in this light, it’s easy to see how the eternal return fits into this theme: being stuck in an endless loop with no definitive end in sight would surely make ghosts of us all."