The test of the third record is always a difficult exam for many bands, and US-based Bell Witch come to it with a soul filled with despair and grief after the departure of drummer and vocalist Adrian Guerra in 2016. The band, always a duo, has been active since 2011 with the homonymous demo and has always proposed a personal and peculiar funeral doom very intense centered on the sound of the bass played by Dylan Desmond, now accompanied by Jesse Shreibman on drums; those who have followed their musical career will have appreciated the great compositional skills and inventiveness poured in the previous two records (2012’s Longing and 2015’s Four Phantoms), where the sound of the bass totally filled the spaces and creates long and very fascinating songs. Now this monumental Mirror Reaper shifts their concept of sound probing further horizons; two tracks, As Above and So Below, for a total of about 84 minutes of music with a high emotional content, where the themes dealt with are about life and death, desolation and despair. The landscapes created by the two musicians represent the overwhelming pain that pervades their souls torn apart by the loss of their colleague and friend. It is not an experimental or avant-garde record, but it needs time to enter under the skin, to invade the soul with its spiritual essence. The sound unravels slowly, introspective, meditative, with the bass that draws a few notes distressing and oppressive, with an alternation of full and empty skillfully conducted. The first part of As Above develops as a memory of notes that alternate and fade one after the other in the middle of a leaden fog, where there is no certain destination because everything is interrupted in the midst of painful laments; the sadness is tangible, gaps open in other spiritual dimensions as mirrors reflecting a different self. Organ sounds in the background (a novelty for the band) diffuse layers of suffering and unbridgeable emptiness, charging the journey with tension and passion. Here is highlighted the essence of pure doom sound where everything moves but at the same time appears motionless, where everything proceeds slowly but remaining full of tension; the alternation of growl and clean vocals, very present in the second part So Below, and the presence of some chorus keep the tension high making everything very interesting; the arabesques of the bass that offers a few long notes played with the heart, develop a unique experience in funeral doom. The duo can remind at times Skeptcism or Shape of Despair for the ability to open in the mind scenarios and landscapes of enormous desolation, but the ability to do it with such a meagre instrumentation is unique. Ultimately this is a magnificent work, embellished by an admirable and evocative cover by the Polish artist Mariusz Lewandowski. (M. Pagliaro – MetalEyes 11/12/2017)

2017 Profound Lore Records / Vulture Print 2018 -Tartarus Records