Archive for the ‘Bell Witch’ Category

And The Rest of the Best of 2015

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

We close out our 2015 end-of-year list-a-thon with contributions from LIFE IS NOISE friends and contributors Sally Townsend, Louis Dunstan, Liam Matthews and Gram the Son of Sam.

Sally Townsend, Perth-based music photographer
I am a lover of music first of all, and firmly believe in supporting live music and local artists. I will travel for the indescribable magic that is live performance, and am trying to capture it the best I can with my camera. I’m a riff-worshipping, doom-loving, dedicated listener and participant in both the local and international heavy music scenes. There was too much good stuff released this year, so it seemed fitting to do a top 15 for 2015. In no particular order…

Bell Witch – Four Phantoms

High On Fire — Luminiferous

Windhand — Grief’s Infernal Flower

Uncle Acid — The Night Creeper

With The Dead — With The Dead

Dopethrone — Hochelaga

Monolord — Vaenir

Elder — Lore

Blackout — Blackout

Watchtower — Radiant Moon EP

Chelsea Wolfe — Abyss

Cult Of Occult — Five Degrees Of Insanity

Space Bong — Deadwood To Worms

Holy Serpent — Holy Serpent

Deafheaven — New Bermuda

Louis Dunstan (EXTORTION/Big Bread)

1. Ghost — Meliora

2. High On Fire — Luminiferous

3. Drowning Horse — Sheltering Sky

4. Tame Impala — Currents

5. Napalm Death — Apex Predator/Easy Meat

6. John Carpenter — Lost Themes

7. Jaakko Eino Kalevi — Jaakko Eino Kalevi

8. Elder — Lore

9. Ufomammut — Ecate

10. Ahab — The Boats of Glen Craig

Liam Matthews (Fourteen Nights At Sea, Old Bar/Public Bar, Melbourne)

1. Godspeed You! Black Emperor — Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress

2. Hope Drone — Cloak Of Ash

3. Self Defence Family — Heaven Is Earth

4. Deafheaven — New Bermuda

5. Nadia Reid — Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs

6. Luke Howard – Two & One

7. Mogwai — Central Belters

8. Mares — Mares

9. Closer — Heartache/Lifted

10. The Electric Guitars — The Electric Guitars

Gram the Son of Sam’s top Oz doom, occult and stoner of 2015

1. Witchskull – The Vast Electric Dark

2. Tarot – The Warrior’s Spell

3. Aver – Nadir

4. Hydromedusa – Hydromedusa

5. Space Bong – Deadwood to Worms

6. Seedy Jeezus – Seedy Jeezus

7. Watchtower – Radiant Moon

8. Roundtable – Dread Marches Under Bloodied Regalia

9. Drowning Horse – Sheltering Sky

10. Little Desert – Saeva (This could have been #1 but just not enough time to shine)

Bell Witch — Four Phantoms

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Bell Witch are comprised of just two members. Even now, as I spin Four Phantoms for perhaps the fiftieth time this year, my mind boggles at how two men could conjure up such a immense, tectonic sound.

Bell Witch’s instrumentation is a little unconventional: bassist Dylan Desmond utilises a six string bass guitar and a two-handed tapping technique which allows him to play bass and melody lines simultaneously. As if that weren’t enough, he does so with incredible feeling and nuance.

Four Phantoms is built around a concept: each of its four tracks tells of an apparition condemned to an eternity of torture by one of the four elements (earth, fire, water and air). In isolation, the idea sounds cliché — even cartoonish — but Bell Witch execute it with such power and precision that Four Phantoms truly conjures up an image of transcendental beings screaming from some ghostly realm of the spirit, expressing a misery and pain beyond this plane of existence.

At its heaviest, listening to this record is like being enveloped in thick, sonic magma. Amplifiers crackle and splutter with distortion, the drone of the bass so full of warm sub-frequencies that its rumble becomes more a body-feeling than a sound. These are the moments in which the enormity of the forces containing the apparitions becomes apparent; in which you become aware of the full power of gravity, warping time and space in order to hold the dense husks of dead stars in their cosmic orbit. The spirits are left to scream and rage with a pain and hatred bordering on insanity, their futile cries unheard in the purgatorial void.

But Bell Witch also possess a beautiful sense of space. In their quieter moments, the duo create a remarkable, ethereal atmosphere in which the apparitions whisper their mournful fate over delicate bass melodies; their sorrow gently drifting across the plane. These moments of longing and reflection reveal the band’s true strength: by so effectively juxtaposing elements of light and dark, they are able to produce nuanced expressions of both beauty and misery; brutality and fragility; rage and resignation.

This is classic, cathartic doom executed to perfection. It is miserable to be sure, but also profoundly beautiful, at once expressing the cold, emptiness of death alongside a touching longing for life. Four Phantoms is a high-water mark for the genre that will be very difficult to exceed.

Four Phantoms is out now through Profound Lore Records.