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 Bell Witch
Author: steevee 
Date:   10-30-17 10:50

I am very impressed by MIRROR REAPER, the new album by "funeral doom metal" band Bell Witch. It's a single 83-minute song intended as an elegy for their former drummer Adrian Guerra, who recently committed suicide. The band restricts their palette to organ, bass, drums and vocals, which are often though not always wordless. They stretch the boundaries of heavy metal more than any band I've heard since Sunn O))) - there are long passages where the bassist essentially plays solo while the drummer hits a ride cymbal every 30 seconds. The album reminds me of some liturgical classical music more than stereotypical metal, actually. As you would expect, the tone is extremely somber and grim, but it's not a slog to listen to the entire 83 minutes in one sitting, as the track keeps evolving gradually. In a lot of ways, this brings together the worlds of stoner metal bands like High On Fire and Sleep and 21-st century composition. There has been a lot of folk and rock music facing down death lately, from the harrowing album released by Mount Eerie earlier this year to Nick Cave's SKELETON TREE (implicitly inspired by his son's passing) to Leonard Cohen and David Bowie making their final work as they knew their mortality lay around the corner. MIRROR REAPER is in the same class as all this work (except maybe BLACKSTAR.)

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 Re: Bell Witch
Author: hoip chiggs 
Date:   10-31-17 15:58

Sounds compelling. I gotta check it out.

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 Re: Bell Witch
Author: upper90 
Date:   10-31-17 16:54

I listened to it today at work, man those dude have some serious patience to keep that tempo for that long. Obviously they take their music very seriously and it shows/ I will say it is much more approachable than most Sunn 0))) which I never really took to for the most part. The commenters gave some other funeral doom bands out I want to check out tonight, good night for it!!

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 Re: Bell Witch
Author: steevee 
Date:   10-31-17 22:34

I'm familiar with the doom metal genre, but I'd never before heard the term "funeral doom." I will google other bands playing similar things, but I think this album benefits from the fact that it's a work of genuine mourning for a real person who used to play in the band, not an attempt at fitting into a scene.

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 Re: Bell Witch
Author: upper90 
Date:   11-01-17 12:59

Egged on by your music suggestion yesterday I decided to stay behind and pass out candy last night vs walking with the kids. This allowed me to play music for the trick or treaters. My selections: Sisters of Mercy (great mix from Youtube like Alice, Lucretia, etc), Bauhaus (most of Crackle), Bathory (cuts from Blood Fire Death and Hammerheart) and ended up with several cuts from Ulver's first 3 albums. I must say the acoustic Ulver stuff on a cool dark night with little creatures running around was pretty freaking awesome! Our cul de sac has very little light pollution so nice and dark! I got a few odd stares and a few head bangs. Only one kid I would say was frightened, but not really, he was taken aback by Oden Ride Over Nordland from Bathory, the horse noises and atmosphere kind of freaked him out. Mission accomplished.

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 Re: Bell Witch
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   11-01-17 15:06

Funeral doom tends to be more overtly emo(tional) than "traditional" doom, as well as slower and often more baroque. Which is Bell Witch in a nutshell, so if you like them, that subgenre is worth exploration. I tend to be more of a doom traditionalist, but the noise Bell Witch makes is definitely damned impressive.

And to your earlier point, it takes a special kind of drummer to play music this slow. Some of the best drummers I've ever seen have been in doom bands - they can keep a sometimes torturously slow tempo while also (somehow) driving the music forward like a rock drummer should. The best doom bands, funeral or otherwise, are often driven by the drums, not the guitar.

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 Re: Bell Witch
Author: steevee 
Date:   11-01-17 15:53

On Oct. 30th, I went to a movie screening of George Romero's THE CRAZIES. During the 15 minutes before it started, the theater played Screaming' Jay Hawkins' "I Put A Spell On You," Roxy Erickson's "I Walked With A Zombie," the original version of John Carpenter's "Halloween" theme, the "Crypt Keeper Rap" and the Ramones' "Pet Sematary." I was at Rough Trade Halloween 2016, and the clerks were all wearing corpse paint, but as I walked into the store they were playing Michael Jackson's "Thriller." I suggested that extreme metal might be more appropriate, but the clerk said they started off the day with Slayer and customers complained. The Gravediggaz' SIX FEET DEEP (one of the few good horrocore hip-hop albums) would also be appropriate, but again, it has the potential to really piss people off.

Michael, are there any recent funeral doom metal bands/albums you'd recommend? I looked the genre up in Wikipedia, and it doesn't seem like any of the bands they list as genre landmarks have released new albums in the past few years.

I love HAMMERHEART and the one Ulver album I've heard, although I know Ulver have changed style about half a dozen times.

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 Re: Bell Witch
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   11-01-17 16:54

The Finnish band Skepticism comes to mind, though they're not active right now, as far as I know. Ahab, who, as you might imagine, have a nautical theme going. While they're not strictly metal, I would thrown in the Australian band Virgin Black, who have the slow, mournful thing going with alternating heavy and classical sounds (and a vocalist to match).

I've read good things about Esoteric, Evoken and Mournful Congregation, but will confess to not having heard them.

There's a list right here that makes me realize I don't know the genre as well as I thought.

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 Re: Bell Witch
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   11-01-17 16:56

The only Ulver album I know is the acoustic one. For that matter, the only Bathory album I know is Blood Fire Death, but that's a really good one. Black metal without the corpsepaint.

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 Re: Bell Witch
Author: upper90 
Date:   11-01-17 17:01

The first 3 albums from Ulver are Bergtatt, Kveldssanger and Nattens madrigal. All 3 are different. The first one I got turned onto by searching the internet for best black metal/folk albums of all time and that one kept coming up. It is a very cool piece of work, has folky parts mixed with pure rock out black/experimental metal jams. Similar to the Bathory viking stuff, the music just has a vibe that feels "outdoors" and of the earth. The second one they decided to go with what I would describe as folk/classical album but like animals buried in the Pet Sematary, the music is not folk classical, there is something off about it. I recommend checking it out. The last album of theirs that I have is the one with the wolf on the front, Nattens. It is a little more straight black metal, even more so than the first. This band I think never did the corpse paint approach to BM, which sets them a bit apart.

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 Re: Bell Witch
Author: HollowbodyKay 
Date:   11-02-17 13:41

Quote:

I am very impressed by MIRROR REAPER, the new album by "funeral doom metal" band Bell Witch.


So it's a fusion of ... Funeral Metal and Doom Metal?

Bah! I don't see how you could possibly make that work.

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 Re: Bell Witch
Author: STEVE 
Date:   11-03-17 23:35

Suicide is for people afraid of getting old, shitting themselves and refusing to pay illegal immigrants $15.00 an hour to clean it up.

see, George Sanders



Post Edited (11-04-17 00:00)

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 Re: Bell Witch
Author: steevee 
Date:   11-04-17 00:19

I just looked up Ulver in my iTunes collection, and the album I own is MESSE I.X-VI.X

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 Re: Bell Witch
Author: STEVE 
Date:   11-04-17 00:45

bloody ROMAN NUMERALS!

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 Re: Bell Witch
Author: upper90 
Date:   11-06-17 13:31

I will have to check that out, thanks.

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