EIGHT BELLS – Landless (Battleground Records)
After a critically acclaimed album such as The Captains’ Daughter, the pressure can be on to deliver the dreaded sophomore album. Many bands approach this head on and fail miserably despite their best efforts while others take their talents to new heights proving the hype is real. I’m happy to say Landless is the latter.
Hailing from Portland, OR, Eight Bells has presented such a professional looking/sounding album, you’d swear they have been around for decades. Eight Bells is made up of guitarist/vocalist Melynda Jackson, formerly of Subarachnoid Space (the San Francisco psych rockers whose final album, released in 2009 on Crucial Blast, is the origin of the Eight Bells name), bassist/vocalist Haley Westeiner, and new drummer Rae Amitay, also of Immortal Bird and Thrawsunblat. The bombastic sound of this record can partially be credited to recorder/mixer Billy Anderson (Neurosis, Leviathan) as well as the mastering prowess of Justin Weis (Pallbearer, Agalloch). The songs are thick with layers and reverb while exploring a plethora of musical influences (rock/psych/metal).
This approach works best on songs like “Hating” and standout track “Hold My Breath”. At times it feels a bit forced (the 13-minute title track), but overall, these three ladies pack more of a punch than many of their male counterparts.
I feel what really puts this album into the upper echelon of metal pumped out these days are the vocals of Melynda Jackson. At times haunting and subdued and others gargling glass and spewing venom. The range of her voice allows Eight Bells to go in any direction they so desire.
It’s obvious Eight Bells has taken a step in the right direction. If they keep on this path, they’ll be one of the most talked about bands in 2016/2017. And hey, if Voivod takes you out on tour (see below), what more cred do you need?!
Catch them on tour opening for Voivod and Vektor:
Feb 6 – Providence, RI @ Fete Ballroom
Feb 7 – New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre
Feb 8 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
Feb 9 – Morgantown, WV @ Mainstage
Feb 10 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar
Feb 11 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Stone Pony
Feb 12 – Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon Club
Feb 13 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat
Feb 14 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
Feb 16 – Raleigh, NC @ Kings
Feb 18 – Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theatre
Feb 19 – Sanford, FL @ West End Trading Co.
Feb 20 – Ybor City, FL @ The Orpheum
Feb 21 – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
Feb 22 – Knoxville, TN @ The Concourse
Feb 23 – Newport, KY @ Southgate House Revival
Feb 24 – Chicago, IL @ The Abbey Pub
Feb 25 – Cudahy, WI @ The Metal Grill
Feb 26 – St Paul, MN @ The Amsterdam
Feb 27 – Omaha, NE @ Waiting Room
Feb 28 – St Louis, MO @ Firebird