Thursday, February 8, 2018

Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper

This album has been out for a few months now, but it has taken some time to digest. If you are not familiar with the particulars of this release, it is one massive 83 minute track. How do you describe something as epic as this, something that is so all encompassing? Music is a language all its own, and it can convey feelings, sometimes strong emotions, with just a few notes or sounds, things that can’t be conveyed in a 1000 words by a great writer. With a track this massive, there are so many things to feel, to notice, to embrace, that it is not easily reduced to words.

In the words of the band themselves, “The title 'Mirror Reaper' is indicative of the Hermetic axiom 'As Above, So Below', written with two sides to form one whole. The song is both its own and its reflection, as an opposite is whole only with its contrary. Our focus as a band has always been the perception of ghosts and the implied archetype of the dichotomy of life/death therein. 'Mirror Reaper' is a continuation of that concept.”

The music is also informed by the passing of ex-drummer and founding member Adrian Guerra during the writing of the song. There is a very meditative feeling to this work, a sense of looking inward and trying to enunciate what was found in that process. There is so much here, so much to take in, so much to feel. Loneliness, desolation, despair, but also hope and renewal and the realization that life goes on even when we pass through times of darkness. There are passages that are beautiful and majestic and feel like a celebration of life, as well. Bell Witch have done a masterful job of putting all of these diverse emotions and feelings into a living, breathing work of music that feels very cohesive and coherent.

This is funeral doom. It moves slowly and purposefully. The pace of this music is one of the key things about it. This is the speed at which rocks and bones decay into dust. It is a speed that reminds us that time is eternal and infinite, and in comparison to that span our lives are just a brief flash. It is important to have this sense of scale so that the music can speak to us, and deliver to us the things that we need to know. As a listener, you must immerse yourself into this piece of music. You must participate, for this is not a passive process. You must engage and let the music flow through your consciousness. I would also highly recommend reading through the lyrics. With the vocal style in music like this it is sometimes difficult to follow along, but these lyrics have something to say and it is worth spending time with them.

Bell Witch have come up with an amazing release. Even at 83 minutes, you will want to listen to this over and over again. I had a discussion recently with a friend about music that marked a turning point in our lives. If you listen to this album and give it the attention it deserves, it may indeed help you see life differently.


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