Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper (2017)

Bell WitchMirror 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.

 

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Austin Terror Fest (15-17 June 2018, Austin TX)

 

Austin Terror Fest

 

Friday 15 June 2018

at Lost Well, 2421 Webberville Rd, Austin TX 78702

doors 4pm

 

Saturday 16 June 2018

at Barracuda, 611 E 7th St, Austin TX 78701

doors 4pm

 

Sunday 17 June 2018

at Lost Well, 2421 Webberville Rd, Austin TX 78702

doors 2pm

 
More details: Facebook page / Facebook event
Tickets: Eventbrite

 
For the second year in a row, the Austin edition of Terror Fest has a plethora of fantastic bands descending upon the Lone Star State. Check out that list (more details below)!

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Mutants of the Monster 2018 (15-17 June, Little Rock AR)

 

Mutants of the Monster

 

Friday 15 June through Sunday 17 June 2018

at Revolution Music Room (The Rev Room), 300 President Clinton Ave, Little Rock AR 72201

All Ages | $15 each day | doors 6pm / music 7pm

 

Sunday 17 June 2018

at The White Water Tavern, 2500 West 7th Street, Little Rock AR 72205

21+ only | $15 | doors 6pm / music 7pm

More details: http://www.facebook.com/events/125506641561652
Tickets: Friday | Saturday | Sunday (sold out!)

 
Named for a song by their state’s most famous band, Mutants of the Monster is a weekend-long festival of heavy music taking place in Little Rock — featuring local legends such as Pallbearer and Rwake, a visit from the current Yob + Bell Witch tour, and more!! See the full list below …

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Yob – Clearing the Path to Ascend (2014), Our Raw Heart (2018)

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YobClearing the Path to Ascend (Neurot Recordings, 02 September 2014)

 

YobOur 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.

 

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Wrekmeister Harmonies – The Alone Rush (2018)

Wrekmeister HarmoniesThe Alone Rush (Thrill Jockey Records, 13 April 2018)

As you may recall, Wrekmeister Harmonies hit our Top 15 of 2015 List with their enormously epic outing Night of Your Ascension, with its dozens of contributors and guest stars. Since that time, the eclectic collective has been distilled down to just the duo of founder JR Robinson and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Esther Shaw (the same pair who toured under the Wrekmeister name following that album, performing half of a set alone and the other half with Bell Witch as their backing band).

Also since that time, these two people have dealt with a variety of hardships and sorrows, culminating in a relocation from Chicago to Astoria, Oregon — and a lengthy period spent healing (metally and emotionally) as well as composing, which Robinson referred to as a “cult like affair, just the two of us, thinking the similar thoughts and working them out with hours and hours of conversation, totally alone.”

The result was The Alone Rush, released last month, in which only Robinson and Shaw perform, along with drums by Thor Harris.

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Vile Creature – Cast of Static and Smoke (2018)

Vile CreatureCast of Static and Smoke (Halo of Flies (US) / Dry Cough (UK), 09 March 2018)

 

Today we’ve got another album review for you — and a worthy follow-up to yesterday’s, as this one also contains long, low-tempoed tracks filled with filthy noise and despair. Although it’s actually their second full-length, Cast of Static and Smoke is the first output I’ve heard from these self-described “two weird queer kids with lofty ambitions.” But from that very first listen, Vile Creature grabbed my attention and never let it go throughout four tracks spanning nearly three-quarters of an hour. Let’s dig right in, eh?

 

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Bell Witch – Four Phantoms (2015)

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Bell WitchFour Phantoms (Profound Lore Records, 28 April 2015)

 

For those who may have missed the news, I’m very sad to report that yesterday we learned of a monumental loss to the music world, in the passing of Adrian Guerra, co-founder of Seattle doom duo Bell Witch, co-writer of all of that band’s material to date, and former drummer/vocalist (up through summer 2015).

After that time, his position behind the kit had been replaced by Jesse Shreibman, including on the band’s most recent tour where they pulled double duty — playing a full set of their own in addition to serving as the backing band for Wrekmeister Harmonies. But from the band’s inception through its formative years, it was Guerra and bassist/vocalist Dylan Desmond from their groundbreaking 2011 demo (incidentally, one of the very first reviews ever published on this website, back in December of that year) up through and including last year’s Profound Lore full-length Four Phantoms.

In honor and in memory of the co-creator of some of the greatest and most moving music to have reached my ears over the past five years, today I’ve decided to present you with a discussion about that latest album, the last one to feature the original Bell Witch line-up. Rest in peace Adrian, and our thoughts and sympathy are with your friends and family, colleagues and former band members.

 

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