Bell Witch – Four Phantoms (2015; Profound Lore)
Bell Witch is a doom / drone metal duo, featuring drums, bass, and vocals. While the latter occasionally take on the traditional “cookie monster” style of death metal, a fair amount of the singing is cleaner, and almost monastic in tone. The bass is overdubbed, with the lower registers distorted for a jarring impact, while the higher notes resemble that of a regular guitar. As expected from this style, a prodigious tempo spans the four long tracks herein. Combine Sunn O))) with Dead Can Dance, and you might get something close to Four Phantoms.
Dominique Leone describes this EP-length release as influenced by Frank Zappa, Harry Nilsson, Igor Stravinsky, and prog rock in general. The Zappa influences are apparent, with quirk, complex, pop-influenced tracks, prominently featuring vocals. Further, the lyrics and musical content has an overall homourous approach, bordering on the sarcastic. Co-cospirators include Jordan Glenn and Jason Hoops of the Fred Frith trio and Jack O’ The Clock, as well as clarinetists Matt Ingalls and Aaron Novak, among others. Occasionally one might hear a bit of Queen as well, if listening for it.
In Resolute, Marco Oppedisano achieves something of a blend between experimental electric guitar and musique concrete. Incorporating distorted chords and textures, as well as found-object percussion and effects, Oppedisano leads the listener through five short tracks. The disjointedness of these compositions could be mistaken for a incidental music of a soundtrack, perhaps one from a twisted cartoon. The latter tracks incorporate piano and voice to assist forming Oppedisano’s idiosyncratic dissonance.