Author: Brian Grebenz
(Seventh Rule Recordings, 2013)
#FOR FANS OF: Psychedelic rock, Progressive rock, Post metal
As it is, I listen to a lot of music. When I am not sleeping, working or taking in the proper nourishment to sustain me on a daily basis, you can bet that something is playing in the cd player, spinning on the turntable or leaking out of my computer speakers from my itunes. Sometimes this happens even when I am doing those three things. Point is, that I enjoy listening to music,do it every chance I get and have a wide range of tastes. When a friend asks me the question "What is it?" I usually have an answer with one of the thousands of genres and sub-genres. However, sometimes there is that band or album that defies classification. Thus is the case with Portland, Oregon's Eight Bells. This three piece create some of the most unique and interesting sounds around. So, when the question is asked to me 'what is it?" I will answer "get your label maker out and categorize it as psychedelic/dark/doom/heavy/post/prog metalrock" Eight Bells was formed by Melynda Jackson after the disbanding of SubArachnoid Space. Fellow SubArachnoid Space band mate Christopher Van Hussel is on drums and Haley Westeiner handles the six string bass and vocals. The trio produce some of the most eclectic music you'll hear, jumping and melding genres without ever being confined to one. The focal point of the band is Jackson's experimental and heartfelt guitar work. You can imagine each note pouring out of her heart and soul and into her fingers as they dance over the fret board with some kind of otherworldly controlled recklessness. The rhythm section of Van Hussel and Westeiner do not disappoint either. Van Hussel pounds away at the drums like a man possessed. The passion and feeling that he plays with is very apparent. Westeiner's smooth bass lines just flow seamlessly throughout each of the four tracks. These folks play with heart and so much passion, it just makes the listen that much more enjoyable. Although the vocals are minimal on this release, "Fate and Technology" showcases Haley Westeiner's ability as a vocalist. The song begins with Piggy-esc dissonant chords which smoothly transition into a slow and calming melody Westeiner's beautiful and haunting voice is perfect here. Jackson also adds vocals to this song in the form of some blacked screams which is proceeded by rolling thunderous drums and followed by a nice little stop-start riff. The title track, which is the longest song, clocking in at over 12 minutes, is obviously the center piece of the album. The song twists and turns through lavish landscapes of psychedelia. As much as I love "Fate and Technology" this may be my favorite song here. Right around the 8 minute mark after all the chaos, it settles into Jackson playing slow, single drawn out notes. The tone of the guitar here resembles that of In The Woods on their masterpiece 'Omnio' and some vocals are splashed in here, not in the form of words, but rather some dark and foreboding "ahhh's" which only add to the already dark atmosphere of this song. Eight Bells have remained under the radar since this album was released back in February. This is a shame, because this is some of the best and original music I have heard this year. This album is for anyone who enjoys great musicians that play with heart and craft amazing songs. This album was a pleasure to listen to and I will continue to listen to it for years to come. If there is one complaint that I have about "The Captain's Daughter", it would be that it is too short. Clocking in at around 32 minutes, it seems to fly by and leaves me hungry for more.