Young and doubly-dreadlocked Seattle duo Bell Witch seem to have a pretty good sense of what works. Their bass/drum doom oppression came to my attention via the forum, and apparently their late-2011 demo has made a solid impression elsewhere around the intertubes as well. No surprise, it’s heavy as hell and blends ’90s-style death/doom (we’re due for a death/doom revival) with the ritualistic often heard from newer traditionally-minded acts. Like I said, they know what works.
The demo is comprised of four tracks, but really the crux of the thing resides in the songs “I Wait” (11:39) and “Mayknow” (18:31), which make up the middle. Opener “Beneath the Mask” is just under four minutes, but mostly serves to introduce the darkness of mood that plays out over the whole and to show Bell Witch‘s allegiance to classic horror atmospheres in an extended sample. Likewise, closer “The Moment” is an instrumental outro, so soft toward the end it’s barely there.
On the whole, “I Wait” and “Mayknow” would have enough between them to make for a satisfying listen, but the lead in and lead out make the demo an even more intriguing and complex listen. Bassist Dylan Desmond and drummer Adrian Guerra both also contribute vocals, which vary in approach from low growling to cleaner chants that serve as the payoff for the substantial journey that is “Mayknow.” It’s a solid mix of influences, and like the best of demos, Bell Witch‘s is enough to pique the interest in what they might do from here.
Tags: Bell Witch, Seattle, Unsigned bands, Washington