Eight Bells - The Captain's Daughter
Seventh Rule Recordings
Experimental Post-Black Metal
4 songs (34' 3")
Release year: 2012
Seventh Rule Recordings
Reviewed by Andy
Surprise of the month

Portland, Oregon has somewhat of a reputation for a weirdness and eclecticism all of its own, and the few metal bands that hail from there reflect that. I'm happy to say that Eight Bells, an experimental post-black power trio with a psychedelic sound, wears that description well. I cracked into this and was rewarded with a strange and mostly pleasant trip through an extended jam session that sounded like it belonged on the playlist of some very obscure coffee shop.

Starting with an echoing four-minute instrumental, Tributaries, Melynda Jackson's ringing, delay-laden guitar with overdrive at first makes the listener think more of an alt-rock act than metal, let alone black metal, but about a quarter of the way into it, she transitions into a tremolo-picked frenzy of notes which, with the delay, gives it a ghostly, faraway quality that has a certain cold beauty to it, finally slipping into psychedelic territory. Chris Van Huffel's rhythm keeps right up with the guitar/bass, switching to high-speed black metal drumming from the more jam-like beats he uses at the start. Fate And Technology, the second track, doesn't have a definite break in the pattern from the first, but just becomes more purposeful and staccato.

It's easy to imagine hearing these songs live in the same order as on the album, as the band gets down to business and chops at the listener with a staccato, clipped set of riffs. One notices the bassline underneath after the first track; with the "jam-session" format, the bassist, Haley Westeiner, has a lot of freedom and uses it. We also get a taste of surprisingly quiet, sweet-toned vocals (followed by not-so-quiet shrieking as the song hits more black metal). In the thirteen-and-a-half-minute title track, guitar and bass riff on a central theme, drift off into spacey stillness, back to rock, and finally off to a drawn-out exit. Yellowed Wallpaper has a grimmer, deliberate pace, with the jamming going all-out, showcasing an unusual, progressive beat that works well with the tremolo picking.

The overall sound has almost a 70s early prog-rock feel to them in some places -- and a number of passages that sound almost like an instrumental by their fellow citizens and show-mates, Agalloch. This is a short album, and it seems possible to me that the jamming could start getting old if it went longer. But you definitely won't regret listening to it.

Killing Songs :
Fate And Technology, Yellowed Wallpaper
Andy quoted 81 / 100
Other albums by Eight Bells that we have reviewed:
Eight Bells - Landless reviewed by Andy and quoted 90 / 100
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