REVIEWS ROUND-UP: ft. Emma Ruth Rundle, Emily Jane White, Eight Bells, and Hangman’s Chair

Emma Ruth Rundle – Orpheus Looking Back (Sargent House)

On the back of 2021’s exceptional Engine of Hell release, melancholic song-writer extraordinaire Emma Ruth Rundle cannot resist but cast one last longing look over her shoulder at the material prepared, written, and relating to that period, which included the break-up of a significant relationship – the subject of her previous, delicate, powerful full-length.

Consisting of three songs, each different in sound and style that didn’t completely fit with the dynamic of Engine…, Orpheus Looking Back nonetheless brings beauty in its wistful minimalism. ‘Gilded Cage’ is a strummed acoustic piece, ‘Pump Organ Song’ a spontaneous creation during the recording sessions on, well, a pump organ, while ‘St. Non’ is a breathy, guitar / vocal reflection.

While the format is less immersive than the previous full-length, Orpheus… is further example of Rundle’s class as a song-writer and ability to transfer emotion to bare music.

7 / 10


Emily Jane White – Alluvion (Talitres)

Taking a fuller approach to production, singer-songwriter Emily Jane White is reflecting on loss, grief and the impact of recent events on Alluvion, her downbeat and reflective sixth album.

Coaxing a gothic beauty to the underlying synths and minimal instrumentation, there is something of a gentle electro-pop feel to tracks like ‘Show Me The War’ and ‘The Hands Above Me’, a song that introduces subtle guitar peals and swells, and a hint of folk and shoegaze – as does the cello-backed ‘I Spent The Years Frozen’. ‘Mute Swan’ mixes in a repetitive eighties synth refrain with a comforting and underplayed vocal, and the standout track ‘Heresy’ is an ominous and effective duet with Darkher, with sparse chants recalling elements of Chelsea Wolfe.

There is plenty of scope in this reflective offering, as White’s intimate and open tones sit softly over the lush arrangements of multi-instrumentalist Anton Patzner and offer not just escape but hope amongst the darkness of our current situations.


7 / 10


Eight Bells – Legacy of Ruin (Prophecy Productions)

Patience is indeed a virtue, and good things doth verily come to those who are prepared to take their time dwelling in anticipation. It may be six years (and an overhaul of the supporting cast) since the last Eight Bells release, but the progressive, introspective vehicle of Melynda Jackson (guitars, vocals) is all the better for it. The addition of Cormorant’s Matt Solis works as a perfect counterfoil, either with harsh blackened backing vocals, or when chanting in unison with Jackson’s haunting, melancholic intonations. Solis also pops up in the spaces with as some interesting meandering bass runs, working intuitively with the atmospheres that Jackson creates.

This request for patience bears out in the individual tracks, too. Opener ‘Destroyer’ walks us through hints of progressive metal, psych, sludgy tones and touches of blackened cascades, before using a sparse guitar refrain to take us home and into the doomier, eleven-minute sprawl of ‘The Well’. Dynamically as a whole, this is further played out with the mid-album conjoined dreamy pair of ‘Torpid Dreamer’ and ‘Nadir’ combining and paying off; the former dark and doomed, with the latter bringing us through a moment of reflection to peace with its integrated dual vocals, at times reminiscent of a heavier Fleet Foxes – a feeling which is continued into ‘The Crone’, before the blackened elements of the Portland natives arsenal are unleashed.

And all of this is with the hulking presence of standout track, and album closer, ‘Premonition’ still to come; a summation of all the previous parts. Tremolo refrains scythe under a merging of howls and chants, before things settle, breathe and expand into a stately, melancholic close to moody, yet welcoming album.

8 / 10


Hangman’s Chair – A Loner (Nuclear Blast)

Tags and sub-genres, when misapplied, can be quite detrimental at times to bands. Not only are they misleading and mis-set expectations but can lead to people who would embrace and celebrate an act missing out on something that would be a perfect addition to their collection. France’s Hangman’s Chair have been labelled as Stoner and / or Doom (which in itself has a couple of different applications), yet there is nothing Desert or Weed-based here, as their sixth album A Loner continues the evolution and progression of their sound, and is a gorgeously reflective album of downbeat, shimmering Downer alternative rock, laced with moments of shoegaze.

Where there is anything sludgy, it is in some of the Stephen Carpenter / Deftones style looping, rolling low-slung supporting guitar moments, such as on ‘Cold and Distant’, a track that demonstrates Hangman’s Chair have a neat line in understated chorus, too, as does ‘Second Wind’. Moreover songs such as with the aptly titled ‘Supreme’, underline a Type O Negative influence that runs throughout, building in Life of Agony melodies and moments. Cédric Toufouti deals in layered vocals and lines of harmonies to support a voice that sits perfectly floating on top of the cinematic music, at times (‘Who Wants To Die Old’) reminiscent of Kristoffer Rygg.


Atmospheric and considered, the pairing of ‘Pariah & The Plague’ – a beautiful, layered non-vocal piece of music with tinkling guitar effects and brooding electronics – and the melancholy title track sum up the strengths of this unsung album.

8 / 10




NEW MUSIC FRIDAY: February 25th New Music Releases


Purchase and Stream all the New Music released today

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Eight Bells to Release Their Next Album in 2021 via Prophecy Productions

In a new interview with The Obelisk, Melynda Marie Jackson has revealed the new album from the acclaimed Eight Bells is nearing release. Their third album was produced by frequent collaborator Billy Anderson (Neurosis, SLEEP) and it will be released via Prophecy Productions (Alcest, Antimatter). The band has a new-ish lineup as well. Melynda commented:

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Psycho Las Vegas 2018: Live From Hard Rock Hotel And Casino

Psycho Las Vegas has grown and evolved over the years and has shaken off any comparisons to niche European fests and your traditional US fest, itself having no close comparisons, and being its own beast. Having everything under one roof including your stay can lead to late and debaucherous nights for some, packed and planned diverse schedules for the devout, a little compromise of both for others, but an all around good time for all. For a journalist working the fest, it goes by in a blur but you still experience having those stand out moments as well as highlights of your own. Continue reading

Danzig Added As The Final Headliner Of Psycho Las Vegas

Danzig has been named as the final headliner of Psycho Las Vegas 2018. The fest will take place from August 17th-19th at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.


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UPDATE: Psycho Las Vegas Lineup Change, YAITW No Longer On The Bill

As Ghost Cult announced last week the 2018 Psycho Las Vegas festival will be taking place from August 17th-19th at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The lineup promised to be a banger, with one notable change, Young And In The Way (YAITW) have canceled their appearance at the fest due to their impending breakup. They were to have played the pre-festival pool party event on August 16th. The festival will announce a replacement soon. Continue reading

2018 Psycho Las Vegas Lineup To Feature Dimmu Borgir, The Hellacopters, Witchcraft, High on Fire, Goblin, And More!

The 2018 Psycho Las Vegas festival will be taking place from August 17th-19th at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Today the organizes have unveiled the final lineup, and it’s just AWESOME. Continue reading

Eight Bells Guitarist Breaks Leg, GoFundMe Campaign Launched

Eight Bells, by Melina D Photography

Eight Bells, by Melina D Photography

Eight Bells guitarist Melynda Jackson broke her leg last night in Atlanta, while on tour with Voivod and Vektor. Termed a freak accident, the band has posted on their Facebook page that the band will be unable to perform tonight in Knoxville, TN. The band is still trying to determine if and when they can rejoin the tour, but vow to support the bill in any case. They have also launched a GoFundMe campaign to help offset the medical bills. Eight Bells is on the road supporting their recently releases album Landless (Battleground Recordings) .

We wish Melynda a speedy recovery!

eight bells announcement melynda

Hello, friends. Unfortunately, there was an incident at our show last night and Melynda was badly injured. This morning, doctors confirmed that her leg is broken. We are terribly sad to say that we cannot play tonight’s show in Knoxville but we will try to make it there in order to support our friends inVoivod and Vektor as well as sell some merch in an attempt to ease some of Melynda’s mounting medical bills.

Here is a GoFundMe page that we’ve set up for her — you can also donate directly via PayPal to

We’ll know more in regards to the rest of the dates soon, and will keep you posted. Thank you all so much for your support and understanding during this devastating time. This is certainly a freak occurrence that no one could have predicted or prevented.

Hello, friends. Unfortunately, there was an incident at our show last night and Melynda was badly injured. This morning,…

Posted by Eight Bells on Monday, February 22, 2016


Eight Bells Landless album cover ghostcultmag

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On The Road… with Voivod, Vektor, and Eight Bells

voivod vektor eight bells wreak fete RI poster

One of the top tours of the early going in 2016 brings us the mighty Voivod. The veteran prog metal masters from Canada almost improbably improve year over year. Two years since the release of their album Target Earth (Century Media) the band is still on the road. Better yet, they are releasing a new six song EP, Post Society on February 26th which promises two new songs and a cover. This EP is a stepping stone to a new album, due likely late in the year or early next year. Rather than adapt and conform as many of their peers have over the last 30 plus years, Voivod just rolls on, being Voivod. This excellent bill also boast two other exciting bands from the recesses of the prog metal underground. Vektor is definitely overt in their Voivod worship, but never falls to copying. Just an influence, but its there. If you have ever seen them live, you know they kill it every time. We’ll be looking forward to their new album Terminal Redux (Earache) coming this may. Eight Bells is also on the bill, adding their psychedelic angle to the prog proceedings. We have recently covered the bands’ sojourn across the country and given much praise to their new album Landless (Battleground Recordings) as one of 2016’s best efforts already. The three bands together make for a formidable and fun time. Tonight’s show was opened by local grind junkies Wreak who are solid and fit right in with this bill. Fete Music Hall is one of the many cool venues to pop up from the Providence, RI music scene, not content to be a mere satellite moon to nearby Boston’s Sun. Photographed for Ghost Cult by Hillarie Jason, you can see the spirit and artistry of the bands on display, and the passion reflected back by the crowd. .

Voivod, by Hillarie Jason

Voivod, by Hillarie Jason

Voivod, by Hillarie Jason

Voivod, by Hillarie Jason


Voivod, by Hillarie Jason

Voivod, by Hillarie Jason


Vektor, by Hillarie Jason

Vektor, by Hillarie Jason


Voivod, by Hillarie Jason Eight Bells, by Hillarie Jason

Eight Bells, by Hillarie Jason


Wreak, by Hillarie Jason

Wreak, by Hillarie Jason


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