Bell – ‘Tidecaller’ (High Roller Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Mark Ashby   
Monday, 20 November 2017 04:20

Bell Traveller artworkLike most good stories, the origin of Bell involves alcohol. Knowing my Scandinavian brothers, and their propensity for drinking, probably rather a lot of it. But, nevertheless, it was a late night drinking session that, despite the two musicians knowing each other and actually having played together in a few short-lived bands, ultimately brought Manne Flood and Martin Welcel into the same musical space as one another and sparked the idea that maybe they should plough their own furrow.


The path they choose to follow is that of doom metal and, to be honest, while they do so with integrity and honesty they also do so with a lightness of touch which ultimately fails to convince on their intent to do the genre justice. The bass just lacks, well, any bassiness, and there is none of the dank darkness you would expect to the bottom end of a proper “doom” sound. The drums do partially make up for it, but again, in too many places the mix on these is tinny and snappy.


Now, that’s not to say that these guys can’t write a decent tune. ‘Cross In The Sky’ is a beautifully crafted piece, which combines all the right elements of the genre: it’s filled with perfectly timed changes in mood and atmosphere, and Welcel’s vocal performance is exemplary. But, it all suffers from an atrocious mix – especially with the sudden mid-hit ending, as if the producer hit the “stop” button just as the band started their wind down.


In fact, it’s the production, and the mixing, that really lets this album down. You get the feeling that these guys play much heavier, with a helluva lot more bottom end: but, all of that is lost in the treble overload which dissipates the impact, especially on the likes of the intro to ‘Angels Blood’ which, given the right kick in the arse could have sounded more like a “fuck you” ‘Warpigs’ than an anaemic ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’. Highlight track is the NWOBHM-ian ‘Blackened Sun’, which has a cool, almost Soundgarden-esque riff to it, but the thrashy double-kick highlights the disparate nature of the band’s sound.


Doom with no bass? Nah. Sorry. It needs bass. And a blood transfusion.


‘Tidecaller’ is out now.


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