Eight Bells: The Captain’s Daughter

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Eight Bells: The Captain’s Daughter
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Eight Bells: The Captain's Daughter
Experimental Progressive Rock, Post-Black Metal
Seventh Rule Records
February 10th, 2013
Release length: 31:11
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Forged from the ashes of rural Texas based group SubArachnoid Space, founder Melynda Jackson returns with the brand new group, Eight Bells. The band recently moved to Portland, Oregon, where they continue to work on experimental and Progressive music. They recently were picked up by Seventh Rule Records to release the debut full-length effort, The Captain’s Daughter. It may only be four songs, but still clocks in at a hefty thirty one plus minutes of atmospheric material. But, just how engaging is this effort really?

For the sake of atmosphere, this album has a slightly raw, lo-fi production, though it clearly was done in a modern means. This isn’t bad, since what was done to the instruments really helps to make the environment so engaging. The guitars have a muffled distortion to them, and, like the clean chords, an echo as ell. The drums are the opposite. The cymbals are crisp and just slightly lower in volume, while the snares have a nice boom when hit, and the bass kicks carry nore of a low-level thud. The bass is often somewhat loud, though isn’t really all that deep of a buzz. When the focal point, it really helps to push the song along. Finally, there are vocals, but not much throughout the album. They end up really low in volume, almost drowned out by the music here and there, and can sometimes have a hint of an echo effect as well. Of course, this is also done to help build the environment.

As mentioned, this album is cut up into four tracks, but each is a rather different experience. “Tributaries” kicks things off with more of an upbeat and traditional Progressive Rock performance, jumping from faster material to slower, almost astral riffs and drumming that can put anyone at ease. The bass does play a pivotol role, sticking out than it does on other songs, and offering up a slight groove as well. This environment carries over nicely into “Fate and Technology.” A Science Fiction-esque musical world meets the listener, using he bass to almost create a mechanical world with a grim outlook that grows darker as the music starts to slow around the two minute mark. The additional soft female singing adds to it, laying out a vast emptiness you can’t help but feel isolated in before it picks up into an aggressive, chaotic performance.

The last two songs are definitely a far more grim experience in more ways than one. “The Captain’s Daughter” starts off a little lighter, but eventually shifts to a slower pace of trudging material that is simply burdening to all senses. It even treads a bit into Noisecore terrain thanks to the sound of metal scraping on metal, often coming through like some kind of buzzsaw at work, all against droning guitar chords and various random lead riffs to help push it further. Unfortunately, the atmosphere this creates isn’t really all that great, filing to play on that strong an emotional level like “Fate and Technilogy” did, or even reach the mount of tension it clearly was aiming for. By the eight minute mark, the music changes back to a more vast and open astral sound, and it’s definiely a relief. The empty sense takes on more of a literal sense for the final track, “Yellowed Wallpaper.” It isn’t the most interesting at first, but it’s still catchy with its slower start, picking up the speed to another somewhat upbeat Progressive Rock and Metal piece. The later material shakes the thinner chords from before, becoming richer, even exhillerating towards the end.

The Captain’s Daughter is easily an interesting piece of Metal for today’s musical world. The mixture of Experimental Progressive Rock and Metal foundations with some Post-Black Metal landscapes and Ambient fueled compositions shows off a group that is just full of potential. The environments and emotions that these four songs play on can be rather surprising, but sometimes a little more dull than what you would hope. Eight Bells doesn’t quite hit that incredibly memorable level as a whole, but it does have songs that will have you coming back now and again, making The Captain’s Daughter a recording that is well worth taking the time to experience.

01. Tributaries – 3:51
02. Fate and Technology – 7:21
03. The Captain’s Daughter – 12:49
04. Yellowed Wallpaper – 7:10
Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10

Eight Bells (band)
Eight Bells

Digital review copy of this release provided by Seventh Rule Records via Earsplit PR.