Published Apr 28, 2015While Seattle, Washington may generally be linked to the verdant energy and shimmering textures more prominently associated with the Cascadian black metal scene, darker things also flourish in the forests there. One such example is funeral doom officiators Bell Witch, whose sophomore effort, Four Phantoms, appears on its surface to be a towering monument to misery. Composed of four colossal tracks, each song is dedicated to one of the four elements, and in particular all the horrible ways in which that particular force of nature can kill you (air suffocates, water drowns, etc.).
The doom duo have imbued each track with its own distinct flavour and texture of violence, inspired by the element in question: "Suffocation, A Drowning" is all about weight and density, power and powerlessless, especially as embodied in the liquid vocals of guest singer Erik Moggridge (Aerial Ruin); "Judgement, In Fire" conjures damnation and brimstone, gesturing towards and brilliantly perverting the choral and liturgical.
But it's not the unrelenting heaviness and viciousness that makes Four Phantoms extraordinary, but the beauty in it. The textures are gloriously sumptuous and rich, and there are moments when the pulsing bass or the mournful yearning of the guitar becomes radiant. The genius of this record is not the catalogue of how nature can kill you, but how inconceivably beautiful those elements are even in their hostility. (Profound Lore)