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!
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more