Terror Fest Interview: Bell Witch
Bass and drums doom metal duo Bell Witch deals in loss and bereavement. That trajectory took on a particular potency when founding member Adrian Guerra left the band in 2015 and died unexpectedly the following year. Penned by bassist and singer Dylan Desmond and new drummer/vocalist Jesse Shreibman, Bell Witch's third LP Mirror Reaper presents a monolithic, 83-minute memoriam to their former bandmate.
The duo phoned in from their respective homes, just a block apart, in Tacoma, Wash.
"After Adrian died, it put a lot more pressure on things," says Desmond. "My old friend had a legacy in the project, so we came to the conclusion that we had to make it even better. That was the best way to honor [Adrian's] memory."
"Dylan and I lived together at the time, and after that happened, we didn't talk about the band for almost a month," recalls Shreibman. "It was different versions of mourning or planning. After his funeral, we hit the ground running."
A single track, Mirror Reaper divides into two reflecting movements. At the halfway point, a cataclysmic bridge between life and death, Guerra's voice enters, lifted from unused past recordings. Throughout, Shreibman's Hammond B-3 organ entangles in the sonic headspace.
"We're trying to make music that's hard to listen to," offers Shreibman. "We're not trying to make accessible pop music for the average person to find on their Spotify mix."
"The piece ties together when someone listens to it all the way through," adds Desmond. "You watch a whole movie to figure out the ending. We wrote this with the idea that there was a conclusion to wrap everything up."