Friday, November 20, 2015

EIGHT BELLS - Landless

"Landless is a tour-de-force... out-there progression, ethereal atmosphere, and unexpected harmonies."

Eight Bells returns with sophomore album Landless, coming February 12th via Battleground Records.

From Portland, Oregon, Eight Bells is the trio consisting 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.

Forthcoming new full-length Landless was recorded and mixed by Billy Anderson (Neurosis, Leviathan) and mastered by Justin Weis (Pallbearer, Agalloch).

Stream Eight Bells' "Hating," from Landless, exclusively via Noisey, here:

Landless follows debut album The Captain's Daughter, also recorded by Billy Anderson, released in 2013 by Seventh Rule Recordings and The Flenser. Steel For Brains founder (and contributor to Rolling Stone, NPR, and Pitchfork) Jonathan Dick called The Captain's Daughter, "a damn near perfect concoction of black metal atmosphere with the spiraling aesthetic of progressive rock." A review on UK site Echoes and Dust called it "ethereal and gloriously unpredictable."

Eight Bells founder Melynda Jackson has credited a range of influences that spans '70s prog and krautrock (Genesis, Popol Vuh, Magma), ambient and minimalist composers (Brian Eno, Steve Reich), and the progressive ends of the black and death metal spectrums (Enslaved, Ulver, Death, Gorguts). New album Landless sees the band unify these disparate forces into something far more focused and memorable than ever before. Driven by the haunting vocal power of Jackson and Westeiner, Landless paints a landscape that is both ethereal and electrifying. 

Album opener "Hating" rocks with the spaciousness and majesty of Animals-era Pink Floyd. Title track "Landless" continues this vibe over its 13-minute duration, introducing extreme metal flourishes to balance the angelic vocal harmonies and soaring guitars. "Hold My Breath" charges out of the gate with a 7/8 riff that digs its hook in deep. Things quiet down for the lament of "The Mortal's Suite," then erupt again during epic closer "Touch Me."

Conceptually, Landless is a sequel to its predecessor. Where The Captain's Daughter was about a person lost at sea, Landless is about that same person returning and finding there is no one to return to – a meditation on the fundamental solitude and nothingness of living. Reflecting the band's acknowledged fascination with "the creepy bits of history," there is something of a Victorian air to the lyrics, such as these from "The Mortal's Suite":

"Does it please the chorus? / I have found my own ground / Does the feast gnaw us? / Wrestled down, not a sound / In our times we dare not stir / Conviction's missing lure / We dare not speak with her breath / For that would be too close to death."

Landless is a confident and captivating musical ride, showing this unique band at its best yet. The natural tones and grand visions of the '70s combine with modern-day metal and a 19th-century ghostliness, resulting in a sound that transcends time entirely.

The complete tracklist is as follows:

1) Hating
2) Landless
3) Hold My Breath
4) The Mortal's Suite
5) Touch Me

The album's artwork was created by Nate Burns.

Eight Bells hits the road with Voivod and Vektor for a US tour in February.

Voivod, Vektor, Eight Bells:

Feb 6 - Providence, RI @ Fete Ballroom
Feb 7 - New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre
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 @ Orpheum
Feb 21 - Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
Feb 22 - Knoxville, TN @ The Concourse
Feb 23 - Newport, KY @ Southgate House
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

Photo by Veleda Thorsson