Monday 9 October 2017

Review: Bell Witch – 'Mirror Reaper'

'Mirror Reaper'

Sometimes epic is the only word that can truly do an album justice. And this is one of those cases. Bell Witch return with their third full-length album 'Mirror Reaper', comprised of one single track spanning 83 minutes of sludgy yet ambient funeral doom with added emotional weight from the untimely loss of Adrian Guerra, who died during the writing process. The album is a monolithic beast that requires time and dedication to give it the attention it requires, so perhaps not one for those whose dedication to songs wanes at the ten minute mark.

'Mirror Reaper' is a heavy, numb and exhausting album. It's like a journey into the underworld – cavernous yet claustrophobic. The song evolves and twists throughout it's journey eventually with the second half reflecting back on the previous bulk of the composition. It is a rewarding experience without a doubt, but one that definitely requires stamina from the listener. Atmospherically there is a warmth to this album, especially when the organ and the vocals come through above the guitar and drums that makes this very poignant yet comforting to listen to.

There are some portions that could have been potentially trimmed back for times sake that wouldn't have effected the overall atmosphere and power of the piece. But when you go over the 60 minute mark, what's the point in compromising.

Production-wise, with it's heavy ambient leanings combined with its funeral doom pacing the song could have very nearly seen elements bleed together to just become a drawn out drone track. But it avoids this and through the composition coupled with the way the mix ebbs and flows, it takes on a more prog feel to it, particularly after the 50 minute mark.

This is a stunning album that really pushes what the band have done previously. It's a fitting tribute to a fallen member and a great example of uncompromising ambition is seen through to the end. Again not an album for casual listening, but one that is genuinely rewarding if you have the time to sit quietly and see it through to the end.

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