Between their name and the eerily haunting cover of their six-track debut LP ‘Longing’, you get a very good idea of this Seattle doom duo’s sound and aesthetic. I don’t know if it’s the weather, or its relative isolation from the rest of the country, or just something in the water, but Seattle consistently throws up some of the most unsettling and dark music to come out of the United States. And ‘Longing’ is a worthy addition to that list.
This isn’t the rifftastic doom metal of St. Vitus or Trouble. In fact, this isn’t even your usual metal duo. Most two-piece bands make up for the lack of a bass by tuning their guitars as low as they can go. Bell Witch approach their music from the opposite direction, with Dylan Desmond using his bass to great effect, layering subtle atmospheric riffs over Adrian Guerra’s patient, masterful drumming. Opener Bails (of Flesh) is a 20 minute long funeral dirge that is sparse, ugly and insidious, like slow poison. Another highlight is Beneath The Mask, a six minute bass drone piece, all suspense and tension, which is only intensified by a sample from The Masque of Red Death. When the apocalypse finally comes, this is the album that will be playing in your head.