Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper (Profound Lore Records, 10 October 2017)
Today we’re going to talk — again — about Bell Witch. Since the release of their demo recording back in 2011, this bass+drums+vocals duo of doom has been delighting our auditory cortices with a combination of immense gravitas and lofty, haunting melodies. With the departure of drummer/vocalist Adrian Guerra following sophomore album Four Phantoms, bassist/vocalist Dylan Desmond soldiered on with a new partner in Jesse Shreibman.
As observed in our 2016 review of that 2015 double-LP, the tragic passing of friend and former bandmate Guerra devastated the members of Bell Witch — who, as it turns out, had just started working together on the first new material with their current line-up. As you might expect, this event would certainly have a strong effect on the writing process, the result of which became Mirror Reaper, revealed to the world last fall.
With these guys hitting the road TONIGHT for a month-long expedition all over North America (including stops at two different festivals this weekend), alongside fellow Pacific Northwesterners Yob, we’ll spend some time with Mirror Reaper, and then share that list of tour dates down below.
Chrch – Light Will Consume Us All (Neurot Recordings, 11 May 2018)
Fister – No Spirit Within (Listenable Records, 18 May 2018)
Hey! Remember that incredible split of DOOOOOOM between California’s Chrch and Missouri’s Fister, that came out last November? We just wrote about it at the beginning of this year. Well, both of those bands recently wrapped up a joint European tour, and coincidentally they are both beginning a series of U.S. tour dates TONIGHT (although those will all be separate shows). Also, they both signed to new labels in the recent past (Neurot and Listenable respectively), and both bands have just released their first album on those labels within the past month.
In this article we’re going to talk about both of those albums, and then at the end will be a list of upcoming performances for each band. Prepare yourselves.
Yob – Clearing the Path to Ascend (Neurot Recordings, 02 September 2014)
Yob – Our Raw Heart (Relapse Records, 08 June 2018)
Oregonian doom trio Yob vocalist/guitarist Mike Scheidt has always had a distinctive voice. Whether it’s as a member of Lumbar or making a guest appearance with Red Fang or a whole plethora of others, there’s just no mistaking who is singing. Piercing and powerful, like Conan‘s Jon Davis, expressive and emotional like Argus/Molasses Barge‘s Butch Balich, and always just a bit grizzled and weathered like Wino or Lemmy.
But since the last time we heard from these guys (Clearing the Path to Ascend, which in a year filled with tough competition, still came out as our clear #1 album of 2014), some serious health complications cast some doubt as to whether we might ever hear that voice again. You can read all about that journey in this Rolling Stone interview, where the band’s sole remaining founding member (over twenty years ago!) describes his harrowing experiences while also discussing the creation of Our Raw Heart.
The album was “largely penned from what he worried would be his deathbed,” said the magazine, quoting Scheidt as saying, “there was no guarantee that I was going to live long enough to record the album.” Fortunately for himself, his family and friends, and also for everyone on planet earth who has ears, he did survive and he did record the album, which undoubtably will be contending for the same spot in this year’s list. In this post we’ll touch upon that record from four years ago, as well as the follow-up which hits stores TODAY. Furthermore, keep on scrolling to see a list of opportunities North American readers will have to experience Yob live: for one month (starting next Thursday, 14th June) with Bell Witch or again during September with Acid King and CHRCH.
Body Void – Ruins (Crown and Throne Ltd/Dry Cough Records, 31 January 2017)
Body Void – I Live Inside a Burning House (Crown and Throne Ltd/Dry Cough Records/Seeing Red Records, 11 May 2018)
At some point throughout all these years of running this website, it has become apparent that it’s very difficult for someone to go back and remember everything they heard at the end of the year, pick out all the best things, and rank them in some kind of order. And as we’ve grown and attracted more attention, with the hundreds and hundreds of things submitted here each year, to do so nowadays would be downright impossible. So here’s a quick pro-tip: the start of each new year brings with it the start of a new list. For example, the first seventeen releases from 2017 would have made that year’s list by default. Once the eighteenth release rolls around, was it better than anything already listed? Then it gets slotted in there somewhere, and everything else gets bumped down a slot. And so on through the end of December.
Naturally there will be a need to revisit the listed items at year-end, to see how well they’ve held up to repeated listens and to solidify the order. Also, anything that just narrowly missed making the cut will be kept track of throughout the year, in case it feels like there need to be any substitutions made by that time. But for the most part, it’s been a pretty decent system.
Arriving at the actual point of all this nonsense — with a January release date, San Franciscan trio Body Void‘s debut LP Ruins would have been one of the earlier records to get ranked in the 2017 list, and whatever else came in throughout the following eleven months, it ended up hanging around in that top 10 the entire time. And now, their follow-up I Live Inside a Burning House has just been released this month, boldly demanding a spot in the current year’s list (and not looking likely to be unseated any time soon).
In this article we’ll give both albums a listen, and then at the bottom don’t miss the list of their June/July tour dates, all the way across the country and back again!