Sound the Bell! — Sound the Bell!
(Eclipse Music , 2017, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2018-01-06
Tampere is Finland’s third largest city, with well over 200,000 people, and among those residents, four have put together a band called Sound the Bell! — complete with exclamation point. They’ve developed a style that edges 70s hard rock towards progressive rock without hitting on metal as so many current bands do. Among (relatively) well known American or English bands, the closest comparison might be Captain Beyond. When they rock, they rock hard, but their sense of dynamics gives rise to varying sections and keep things interesting. Lead vocalist Panu Ukkonen, who also handles bass, has a strong voice that is worthy of the prominent position it gets in the mix. All the lyrics are in English, and Ukkonen’s accent never gets in the way of enjoying the music. Equally worthy of focus is Antero Mentu’s guitar, which ranges from nice arpeggiation to insanely distorted solos, though as I said, the tone isn’t like a metal guitarist would use. It’s more akin to the kind of overdrive favored by Raoul Björkenheim and Dušan Jevtović. At other times, he’ll pull out the slide, with a particularly effective solo on “Garden of Love,” which is the album’s longest piece at 12:42. The climax of the piece features a kick-ass rolling triple beat (think Hendrix’s “Manic Depression”) with Simo Laihonen’s drums and the bass going full-bore while the slide guitar freaks out. The album features just the trio, and the sound is filled out by lots of overdubbed guitar parts, with some extra vocals as well. (The band has been known to work with a keyboardist, though not on this recording.) I particularly like the way Laihonen handles the odd meters — he is well beyond simply coming up with a pattern that fits the time signature, but plays across bars and providing accents exactly where they’re needed, just as a jazz-inspired drummer does in 4/4. Sound the Bell! is a band well worth attention, and provides a rocking antidote to all the bands infusing their sound with modern electronics and fancy production techniques. They just write great tunes and attack them with gusto and a twinkle in their eyes.
Related artist(s): Sound the Bell!
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more