Ding-dong! The Bell Witch is alive and well, thank you very much for asking. As a matter of fact, the doom-metal duo are ready to roll out a surprise new record, Future’s Shadow Part 1: The Clandestine Gate. Available digitally on Friday via Profound Lore (and on vinyl come June 9), the album tests the limits of insanity, if not from a musical perspective than at least from a physical one. Clocking in at 83 minutes, The Clandestine Gate presses the limit of how much one record can contain. And—get this—it consists of just one song.
The Clandestine Gate was produced by longtime amigo and go-to doom-metal producer Billy Anderson, who manned the boards for the ultimate single-song album within the genre, Sleep’s Dopesmoker. Devotees of Seattle’s Bell Witch will recall that their 2017 record, Mirror Reaper, also contained just one track.
What makes Bell Witch’s new release extra-remarkable is that it also serves as the first third of a trilogy concocted by vocalist/bassist Dylan Desmond and drummer Jesse Shreibman. The band said the full Future’s Shadow saga will revolve around notions of time, infinity, and memory—topics that piqued Desmond’s interest while reading Nietzsche’s The Gay Science (the works of Andrei Tarkovsky also informed Future’s Shadow, according to the band). “Eventually, the end of the last album will be looped around to the first to make a circle,” Desmond said in a statement. “It can be continuously looped, like a day cycle. This would be dawn. The next one would be noon. The following one would be sundown, with dawn and sundown both having something of night.”
As for The Clandestine Gate, Bell Witch will celebrate the formidable undertaking with an equally career-defining performance at Roadburn Festival, the world’s top taste-making event for metal enthusiasts. On Friday, they’ll play all 83 minutes of the song on the main stage of the event in Tilburg, Netherlands. “We have always had incredible experiences at Roadburn and cannot think of a better place for the live debut of our new record,” Desmond said. “We can’t wait to return to their stage on Friday for the premiere performance of The Clandestine Gate.”
For more on The Clandestine Gate, check out the minute-long teaser below.