Bell Witch And Aerial Ruin’s Stygian Bough Volume 1: where funereal doom and gothic folk collide

Funereal Seattleites Bell Witch renew a fertile partnership with old friend Aerial Ruins on new album Stygian Bough: Volume 1

(Image: © Profound Lore)

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Seattle doom trio Bell Witch have always found space on their records for the voice of Erik Moggridge – now performing as one-man acoustic folk project Aerial Ruin, but also known for stints with 80s thrashers Epidemic and 90s death-grind stoners Old Grandad. With the second half of Bell Witch’s 2017 LP Mirror Reaper given over to Erik’s fragile pipes, it’s clear some special bond exists between these artists, so this five-song, 65-minute collaboration feels like a natural next step. Citing such essential touchstones as Roy Harper, Bert Jansch, Warning and Candlemass as well as Ulver’s Norse folk classic, Kveldssanger, Erik, Dylan and Jesse commit to tape a near-perfect crossover of bleak funeral sludge and gothic loner-folk, often playing out against the haunting burr of strung-out Hammond organ chords, with lyrics focused around mythological rebirth and ancient sacrificial rituals.

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.