Bell Witch—the Seattle doom metal duo of Dylan Desmond and Jesse Shreibman—and Portland dark folk artist Erik Moggridge (aka Aerial Ruin) have announced a joint album. Their collaborative LP is called Stygian Bough Volume I and it arrives June 26 via Profound Lore. Ahead of the new album, they have released lead single “Heaven Torn Low II (the toll).” Hear it below.
Stygian Bough Volume I was recorded and mixed by producer Randall Dunn at Avast Recording Co. in Seattle. Of the new five-track album, Bell Witch bassist/vocalist Dylan Desmond said in a press release:
Stygian Bough is a reference to the theme of The Golden Bough. The book’s theme is centered on the rites of a temple in ancient Italy where slaves were transformed into kings by slaying he who reigned as such after successfully stealing the Golden Bough from the sacred tree within the temple. Within that notion, a different sort of slavery was brought upon the newly crowned king, as he must understand sooner or later that his fate would ultimately be the same as his predecessor. In short, the golden bough made a king out of a slave only to find they were now enslaved to a different sort of tyranny, always stalking them from the darkest shadows of their imagination. From this perspective, the “golden bough” is better understood as a deception casting darkness. Thus, Stygian Bough.
Erik Moggridge added:
They presented that song [“Rows (of Endless Waves)”] to me in a mostly instrumental form with the idea that it’s about a ghost trapped on rows of waves that can’t reach the land. I ran with this idea and started to think of the ghost of a king who, if he reached land could be reborn and rule again. The king is also a larger metaphor for humanity who rules over the planet and other species. On this new album our ghost upon the waves flees not towards the land but towards death. The narrative, as much as it exists, is loose and not linear and definitely stream of consciousness. There are cyclical and spherical qualities to the journey where death, desolation, and the spirit are reflected in myriad ways.
Stygian Bough Volume 1:
01 The Bastard Wind
02 Heaven Torn Low I (the passage)
03 Heaven Torn Low II (the toll)
05 The Unbodied Air
Originally Appeared on Pitchfork