[DYNAMIC DOOM] It would be easy to call Eight Bells Portland's answer to Salt Lake City's well-loved doom act SubRosa. But while the bands share similarities—soaring, clean vocals punching through an aura of swirling melancholy—on sophomore record Landless, Eight Bells bring a distinctive voice to the Northwestern doom sound. Frontwoman Melynda Jackson, formerly of San Francisco prog rockers SubArachnoid Space, is no slouch on the guitar. Where lesser songwriters would have over-noodled, Jackson brings restraint to her angular leads on "Hating" and "Hold My Breath," which are as much power-pop leads as esoteric metal riffs. Speaking of which, the rhythm section knows when to stomp on the gas. The title track and the album's closer, "Touch Me," have galloping third movements that breathe life into their introspective fog. With a strong, distinct voice, tight runtime and excellent songwriting chops, Landless sounds like a strong contender for the best metal album—Portland or otherwise—of the usually slow first quarter of 2016.
SEE IT: Eight Bells play High Water Mark, 6800 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., with Jamais Jamais and Nest, on Thursday, Jan. 28. 9 pm. $10. 21+.