Bell Witch: Four Phantoms

Funeral doom duo give way to more majestic mourning

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Seeing a six-string bass can often send a cold shiver down the spine. Often a kind of sonic short-hand for overly self-indulgent technical bore-athons, there is no such sterile, emotionless wankery to be found in the lethargic and strung-out funeral doom dirges summoned by Seattle-based power duo Bell Witch.

Over the course of its four tracks and nearly 65-minute run time Four Phantoms bleeds emotion from almost every rumbling note, every curdled growl and every thunderous percussive pummel.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, however, that one singular emotion is deep, utter and desperate sadness – not so much the sadness of seeing a family pet sucked through a lawnmower as much as the sadness of seeing a whole family sucked through one.

Twenty-two-minute odyssey Suffocation, A Drowning: II – Somniloquy (The Distance Of Forever) in particular barely moves beyond a tectonic pace, yet it’s almost pastorally haunting opening erupts into punishing blasts of low-end dirge and death grows with the same sort of effortless majesty as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, if they weren’t dull as piss./o:p