Bell Witch – Four Phantoms
Seattle doom duo Bell Witch have composed the perfect funerary soundtrack with their sophomore full-length album, Four Phantoms. The four-track, monolithic follow-up to 2012’s Longing is a grandiose doom record that is devastating sonically, as well as emotionally. Bell Witch‘s simple setup of bass, drums and vocals yields consistently tremendous results. Four Phantoms features four lengthy, dense compositions that rely upon repetition and thick melancholic atmospheres to get their point across. The album begins with the album’s most oppressively heavy track, “Suffocation, A Burial: I -Awoken (Breathing Teeth)”. The album starts off with some Earth-like, sulking bass lines before walls of monstrous funeral doom come crashing down. The band trudge along with dreary riffs, thunderous, lurching percussion and raspy, specter-like vocals for over 22 minutes. Gloomier, quieter sections will occasionally creep up within the track, but “Suffocation, A Burial I” is mostly a straight forward funeral march. “Judgement, In Fire: I – Garden (Of Blooming Ash)” starts off its 10 minute journey with cataclysmic, reverberating bass and drum action. After about three minutes, the band fill the track’s final seven minutes with somber, hauntingly empty atmospheres and equally ethereal vocals. The nearly 23 minute “Suffocation, A Drowning: II – Somniloquy (The Distance Of Forever)” fills its massive duration with equal portions of saddened hymns and emotionally-jarring sonic weight, while “Judgement, In Air: II – Felled (In Howling Wind)” churns out unrelenting leviathanic doom and gloom from start to finish. Bell Witch have crafted an impressive collection of earth-shattering funeral hymns on Four Phantoms. The lengths and repetitive nature of the songs may be daunting to some, but it is their claustrophobic nature that heightens the album’s overall atmosphere. Even if doom metal is not a favorite of the listener, it will be hard for them not to be even slightly enthralled by this record.
Demon Lung – A Dracula
The second full-length album from Las Vegas-based doom outfit, Demon Lung, has arrived on leathery demon wings. Titled A Dracula, the follow-up to 2013’s The Hundredth Name doesn’t stray to far from its predecessor, stylistically-speaking. Instead, Demon Lung choose to refine their sound and give it a darker edge this time around. The pure sonic weight that these doomsayers possess can be felt throughout this 45-minute record. The band lulls the listener into a false sense of security with the introductory track, “Rursumque Alucarda”. After about 71 seconds of acoustic folk strumming, the band unleash a stampede of thick rolling riffs and thunderous drumming on “Behold, the Daughter”. For over seven minutes, Demon Lung churn out towering riffs that topple skyscrapers in their wake. The sorrowful, soaring vocal work from Shanda Fredrick will put just about anyone in doom heaven. Each subsequent track is an exercise in occult riff worship. “Gypsy Curse” features a march of chugging, hazy-eyed sludge riffs that lumber about like a stoned Polyphemus. “Mark of Jubilee” starts off with a bit of stomping doom before bleeding into a multi-layered, ethereal bridge that builds back into a final four-minute onslaught of Satan-conjuring riffing. As previously mentioned, Demon Lung do not tread any new ground on A Dracula. It’s heavier, darker and more brooding than its predecessor, and that alone gives it merit. But A Dracula is a fairly straightforward doom metal record that doesn’t reinvent the wheel, so to speak. But those who like vampires, demons and gargantuan riffs are sure to be enamored with the record.