Do you like terrifying music? Music that you can dream to? Doomy metal albums that last a solid hour. If so, the four song masterpiece “Four Phantoms” by Bell Witch is something you need to take a gander at. None of the songs on this album are under ten minutes long; in fact, two of the songs are over 20 minutes long, so sit back and take the ride if you have time.
There is so much going on in these songs that each track deserves its own separate review. Obviously I don’t have the time or the space to go that deep (and plus that’s kinda the fucking point of listening to the album yourself, is it not?).
Four Phantoms is the second full length to come from the two man funeral doom outfit. I’ll admit, I have always been wary of extremely short albums with epically long tracks. Basically what I’m saying is I’ve had a lot of time to stay away from the doom genre entirely (why? because I’m an idiot I guess). It’s understandable; anyone new to the genre or the band will take one look at the track times or sit through the first 30 seconds and decide “Fuck it, I’m going back to Subliminal Verses Vol. 3”. There’s no really painless way to introduce someone to the music. It’s a better experience to have alone (or stoned I guess. In that regard you could call “Four Phantoms” the “Dark Side of the Moon” of ambience)
Past fans will recognize immediately in the first track, “Suffocation, A Burial: I- Awoken (Broken Teeth)” [Let’s take a second to admit how fucking badass these song titles are, by the way], familiar guitar tones and riffs that aren’t quite catchy as much as they are somber, almost tearjerking. Upon first glance, one might not even notice but “Four Phantoms” lumbers out from its desecrated grave even slower than 2012’s “Longing”, which seems impossible but trust me; this shit is like undead-swamp-creature-with-no-legs-slow.
In addition to the depressing atmosphere the instrumentals nail, the listener will immediately be pummeled by droning screams. If you’re trying to sleep to this album or decided to turn the light off, this is the point where you will regret your decision. The screams are beautiful, almost lethargic in their delivery, further capturing the essence of something that simply wants to fucking die.
Confession: This is one of the only albums I can write poetry to. It is haunting and brilliant and even if you only listen to one track at a time with week long breaks in between, listen to this album. It will be something you don’t forget easily.