Monday, July 15, 2013

Eight Bells : " the Captain's Daughter"

This Portland trio that formed out of the ashes of  SubArachnoid Space likes to call themselves expressionistic experimental metal. They are experimental enough, but at times not what I would call metal . The album opens with an angular shimmer, that is not short on groove or grace. Not what I expected at all , it is somewhat like Marriages but more progressive in the way it accelerates. The opening piece is well played but it's purpose unclear when set against the rest of the album.

"Fate and Technology"  features very psychedelic guitar that drips from the walls behind the breathy cadence of the female vocals, that I have warmed up into after repeat listens. The first six minutes of the song are very different than the more Kylesa like heaviness of the songs final minute and a half.  The production on the vocals is a lot cleaner a mix mix during the clean parts and then roughens when they do dynamically . I am unsure if this is an effect to make it seem like she is screaming more harshly than she is. I like the inclusion of  melody in the first half and the heavier part gets points for catching me by surprise as it darts out of the shadows.

The 12 minute epic title track starts off with a slinking groove that wouldn't be out of place on a Tool or Mastodon album. Shortly after the two minute mark it disintegrates into an ambient drone. I understand if this was executed like the Swans and done from the abrasiveness for its dramatic effect but it lacks the organic wandering their songs have and for an album that is only four songs to begin with a little over indulgent . The song begins to congeal back together around the six minute mark. There is a Hendrix like solo that bubbles up from the murk.  It dips back down into an even more minimalist drone though with a bit of a sonci swell to it, the sort of thing that Locrian album was full of.  Fans of drone might really enjoy this song to me it's a bit of a bore and eats up time that could have been used for actual songs.

"Yellowed Wallpaper" wraps up the album. It's a sprawling instrumental that displays their prowess as players but not as songwriters because it sounds like just a jam. This album leaves me thinking they would be a great band to catch live but writing actual songs could be a weakness as only one of these pieces I consider an actual song. The one song that is on here I like an would be interested in hearing an actual album from these playful boys and girls. I'm not sure I understand  the hype Cvltnation is putting behind them but I have also yet to see them live so maybe this is a souvenir of  that experience which I am missing out on in order to appreciate this to the fullest.  I will give this album a 6  though fans of drone might want to go ahead and round it up, as they might enjoy the middle section of the album that I felt to be filler that was stalling for time yet no songs emerged after that .      

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