Back in April, Dylan Desmond and Jesse Shreibman, of the acclaimed doom-metal duo Bell Witch, and dark folk musician Erik Moggridge, a.k.a. Aerial Ruin, unveiled “Heaven Torn Low II (the toll),” the lead single off their forthcoming joint album, Stygian Bough Volume I. Moggridge has worked with Bell Witch before, notably contributing guest vocals to the band’s 2012 song “Rows (of Endless Waves)” as well as to their last full-length, 2017’s Mirror Reaper, but the new LP — due out June 26th and available for pre-order now — represents their first full-fledged, long-form collaboration. Today (June 8th), Bell Witch and Aerial Ruin have offered up Stygian Bough Volume I’s second single, “The Bastard Wind,” and it’s a doozy. Nineteen minutes of folk-inflected doom that rises and crashes like stormy waves on a craggy cliff face. Check it out below and scroll on for Moggridge’s extensive comments on the impressive composition.
“Soon after the guys approached me about doing a collaboration album, I recorded a demo that had sketches of the riffs and vocal melodies for the beginning and end of the song,” Moggridge stated. “I wanted to write something that would work as an acoustic Aerial Ruin-type song but could also be done as a loud, heavy Bell Witch style riff. The acoustic guitar part in the the first three minutes worked well for this and was great to write multiple vocal melodies over. It was also exciting to imagine what it would sound like as a Bell Witch riff with the hugeness of Dylan’s tone and two handed style. It ended up working really well that way too and was beefed up by electric guitar, as well. Dylan’s bass solo on the album in this section starting at 16:36 and going to the song’s end is so beautiful and one of my favorite parts of the record. The notes he chose are just so sublime and bring the song to a perfect crescendo at the end.
“Also on that original demo was the vocal melody for the part that begins at 11:55 with the line ‘deeds that bled away,’ except I had it over this strummy acoustic guitar part. It was Jesse’s idea to change that part to this massive hits and wrung-out notes underneath the vocals. We spent a long time getting this part right in the studio with all three of us playing it live. There was a jazz band in the studio down the hall who asked why we have a song with just one very loud note — haha.
“I originally thought that these parts might make up an entire song, but Dylan wanted to break up the more melodic ear candy material with tension building parts and came up with all the riffs in the songs middle with this in mind. The idea being the listener would be expecting the melodic stuff to continue but instead have to wade through all these edgy riffs first making the payoff bigger at the end. We ended up with a 10-minute journey into heavier and heavier material. Jesse did a great job building up the tempos that give that part this dynamic arch and gets almost mid-tempo before crashing down again. His death-metal vocals in that section really bring that part home, too.”