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Subarachnoid Space - Eight Bells CD (album) cover


Subarachnoid Space

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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4 stars This one is my second meeting with the band. Mason Jones' and Melynda Jackson's long-time collaboration for SUBARACHNOID SPACE ended in 2003. I still count their live album 'These Things Take Time' among the best space rock efforts I am aware of. More of an exceptional one though because this band is basically known for a heavier post rock/post metal orientation based on crushing walls of guitars, sometimes reminding me of Isis for example. Melynda Jackson moved from San Francisco to Portland in 2006 and gathered a new crew which recorded 'Eight Bells' in best tradition. This album doesn't get out of line. Good news for all die-hard fans ... which probably also includes that you can get it on vinyl - hence relatively short as for the approx length by implication.

Soaring guitars all over. That's what I meant when mentioning the term 'tradition'. Lilith starts as an uptempo heavy rocking thing with a hard working rhythm branch. The guitar walls are escalating to high altitudes, not really overbearing though, provided with a special sense of dramaturgy. Hunter Seeker is my favourite for the album's crown because they leave the obvious heavy paths for some time with a long ethereal spacey middle part. The crew offers a wonderful melancholic mood here, impressing! The experimental weird Haruspex probably can be weighted as bombast trance initiated by samples which are recorded at a zoo I assume.

Bird Signs now seems to concentrate all the band's power at the end. As it is with many albums - you have to listen more than once or twice in order to feel the kick. Which means they don't offer plain noise here which was my initial impression ... no, when really getting involved you'll meet a well accentuated heaviness which owns melody, which is rather enjoyable. Subtle elegancy - 'Eight Bells' is a rather ambitious effort. Interesting for fans who are feeling comfortable in the space/post/stoner rock hunting grounds.

Report this review (#276256)
Posted Sunday, April 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Released in 2009, "Eight Bells" was SUBARACHNOID SPACE's last album before they disbanded two years later. The musical style hasn't changed since the last opuses, dark organic psych'n'roll studio improvisations, with some post-rock incursions, and a cleaner sound than usual. Composed of only five tracks for a total duration of 37 minutes, this final effort is one or their shortest, but also a bit unequal.

The heavy sinister "Lilith" is a very good opener with a pachydermic riff and cymbal crashes. It may remind PINK FLOYD's "Interstellar Overdrive", in agony. "Hunter Seeker" is a reference to the automatic murdering device in Frank Herbert's Dune. Longest track of the record and sometimes sounding post-rock, this ambient lethargic piece will make you wander in desolated lands. A bit lengthy and flat, but the finale is quite ferocious.

"Akathesia" can be described as a disturbed psychedelic metal piece. Nice. "Haruspex" is the latin word for "soothsayer". Consisting mainly in a single long guitar scream with Melynda Jackson's cries of despair, it does not feature many variations and therefore is the least interesting passage of the disc. On the contrary, the ender "Bird Signs" is much more rhythmic and structured. An efficient space rock with cool bass lines to enter the interstellar void.

"Eight Bells" has some weaker moments but should nonetheless please most SUBARACHNOID SPACE and obscure psychedelic rock fans. Prepare your ears for a trip into unknown inhospitable territories...

Report this review (#1554711)
Posted Friday, April 22, 2016 | Review Permalink

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