This morning, the first thing I saw when I got into the office and turned on my laptop was a Facebook timeline filled with my friends' shocked, devastated posts mourning the unexpected passing of Adrian Guerra, the former drummer and vocalist for Seattle doom titans Bell Witch. My heart sank. He was only 36. There must've been some mistake. Surely it wasn't true?
Unfortunately, according to Profound Lore Records, who'd released the band's latest recording (the monumental Four Phantoms, which we had the honor of streaming), it was.
"Very shocked and saddened to wake up to the news of (former) BELL WITCH drummer/vocalist Adrian Guerra's passing. Adrian played an integral role as one-half of Bell Witch with his ritual procession-like drumming and his apocalyptic-sounding death growls, and being responsible in helping to create a body of American funderal/death doom metal mastery spread out amongst a crushing demo and two masterful full-length albums. Most notably, last year's devastating and gut-wrenching Four Phantoms release which became one of, if not the most celebrated and acclaimed funeral/death doom metal album of 2015. A milestone in the genre if there ever was one. And on top of that, Adrian was one of the nicest and most enthusiastic guys in doom metal you could ever know, such a rad dude. RIP brother."
He's right. Adrian and I were friends, and had literally hundreds friends in common; he was well-known and well-loved, and his passing came as a massive shock. Though he left the band last year (handing the drum keys to Jesse Shreibman), Adrian co-founded the band alongside bassist/vocalist Dylan Desmond in 2010, and has played on every single one of Bell Witch's recordings to date, including the highly praised elegiac Four Phantoms.
During his time in Bell Witch, he'd traveled the globe spreading doom, and people loved him for it. He had the biggest smile, the best taste, and hit the drums like a thunderclap.
The loss of his talent—to say nothing of his presence—is a wrenching blow for the metal community... and moreso, for those who were lucky enough to call him a friend.
Rest in power, Adrian.