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Subarachnoid Space: Eight Bells

Subarachnoid Space are an acid rock band from Portland, Oregon and have just released their first album in four years entitled Eight Bells. Melynda Jackson (guitars, vocalizations) is the only holdover from the last album. The rest of the musicians include Daniel Barone (bass), Lauren K. Newman (drums), Daniel Osborne (guitars) and Steven Wray Lobdell (acoustic guitar, percussion).

This music is enshrouded in a veil of darkness, and as I listened it was almost palpable, as if it were something tangible. Yes, it is that dark. If you are seeking pleasant music and all the happy thoughts that go along with it, look elsewhere, you will not find that here. This is an all out aural assault of guitar jamming and strange effects with strong leanings towards psyche and underground heavy rock. Fortunately, a decent melody is not lost on the band and every now and then one creeps out of the gloom, just to keep things in perspective. At just under forty minutes in length, this is a short album by today's standards which may not be a bad thing, as music this intense may be too much for some listeners if it was a long drawn out affair.

Shards of guitar chords begin the doomy "Lilith" and the slow chord progression adds to the dreariness with otherworldly guitar effects bringing the song to a close. The strangely seductive "Akathesia is the album's epic at over thirteen minutes in length and is probably my favourite song on the album. The song begins with a repeated guitar line that eventually slows to a crawl before entering an atmospheric section of gentle guitar and strangely melodic effects upon which a barrage of guitar riffs takes hold once again. The nifty chord progression in "Hunter Seeker" is another highlight and is probably as melodic as the CD gets. The nightmarish Haruspex starts with a wall of guitar noise and pounding drums with eclectic guitar patterns and wild banshee-like vocalizations from Jackson that would not be out of place in a B horror film. The ultra heavy "Bird Signs" ends the album with intense guitar rhythms and a slow plodding chord progression.

This will not be to everyone's liking but if you appreciate experimental music with heavy discordant rhythms and a doom and gloom atmosphere you would do well to check out Eight Bells.

Track Listing:
1. Lilith
2. Akathesia
3. Hunter Seeker
4. Haruspex
5. Bird Signs

Added: August 30th 2009
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2736
Language: english

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