By Hunter Bych, Contributor
[Profound Lore; 2017]
Key Tracks: N/A
Bell Witch is a fascinating doom metal band. While their bass, drums, and vocals only approach coupled alongside their slow and atmospheric tone, they have created a cult following in the metal industry since their inception back in 2010. Riding off the success of their last album, Four Phantoms, they wish to bring one of the biggest albums they have made to date. Mirror Reaper is an 83-minute long album with only one song in its name, and this will drive many people away from listening to it. There is something good in there for the people who are curious enough to sit down with it.
The first 20 minutes of Mirror Reaper perfectly explains why it has almost an hour and a half of runtime. A slow bass before the drums kicks you in the teeth only to reduce back to another painful and repetitive beat. Is this a bad thing? It depends on who you are asking. The deliberate pace is what defines Bell Witch’s style. The repetition of the bass and drums create a sense of dread within the listener. Eventually, time seems to slip by when listening to this and sucks you into its gloomy atmosphere. On the other hand, if someone decided to cut ten to twenty minutes off the album, no one would notice – and might even gain more benefit. The bass is truly the star of the piece, and it’s really the true voice of the whole album. While there are some vocals that come in late in the track and persist until the end of the song, the bass and drums are everything to the piece.
There is a strong sense dread that emanates from Mirror Reaper. In its ghostly groans and howls, the atmosphere is thick and depressing. It fits the theme of doom metal to a T. Oddly enough, it is also really nice to sleep to. There is foreboding desolation that is there if you enjoy it, but there is some strange sort of peace in there. Crawl into bed and give it a listen if you want to. Mirror Reaper has a bizarre relaxing nature to it that works. It’s nothing to knock it off for at all, but it’s something unexpected and interesting. There are fantastic atmospheres for it, and the album shows what Bell Witch is good at.
There is no problem with Mirror Reaper‘s style and instrumentation, but it has a run-time about as long as a movie – and drives slower than an old man in a Chevy truck going 20mph on the highway. It really does give a person that caveat emptor when looking at the album. It is justified, but anyone who can listen to the only song on Mirror Reaper all the way with no stops can find something great in it.