Eight Bells are a three piece band from Portland Oregon. Their sole purpose seems to be to experiment with metal and ethereal elements. Yet, unlike some bands who combine these two, this didn't turn into a gothic metal act. Instead, this turned into a stunning blackened doom metal band, perhaps the most unpredictible of their kind as well. I've always been weary about the term 'progressive', certainly when combined with doom metal, but here it works perfectly. Besides, even then there's a lot more going on.
The album opens with the song 'Hating', which actually starts out as a psychedelic rock song, evolves into something between shoegaze and grunge and suddenly blasts out in what sounds like a doom metal ballad. I really like these clean, ethereal vocals but I feel like this isn't everything these women can put out of their sleeves, or throats. And as often happens, I was quite right. The song is followed by title track 'Landless', which breathes a post-rock/metal air and introduces the bleakness of black metal to the album.
From then on, this album rages on between all these genres, from traditional doom metal over thrash induced black metal and shoegazing darkness. Perhaps it's not a bad thing to reference Kayo Dot here, certainly with all the surprising twists and hooks. 'Hold My Breath' might be the most progressive noise rock song I've ever heard, or perhaps the noisiest progressive rock track. 'The Mortal Suite' could be a cooperation between Barn Own and Cocteau Twins. Closer 'Touch Me' returns the old school doom sound of the opener to complete this odd circle of songs.
So takes it from me, this is a strange but interesting album which deserves your full attention. It drags you everwhere you want to go and everywhere you definitely do nòt want to go. It's dirty, it's eerie, it's harsh and it's beautiful. If you have ever listened to a church choir and thought "this needs distorted guitars and some brutal drums", you have to buy this album. That'll teach you to try to think in church...