(BLOOD ROCK RECORDS/BLACK WIDOW RECORDS EP; Finnish/Italian import, 2013)
Harvest Bell is a Finnish metal and hard rock band who deserve to be huge! With moody vocals, atmospheric guitars and keyboard flourishes, a heavy rhythm section and… oh, yeah… great songs! Unfortunately, they only seem interested in releasing those great songs in bite size increments. The group’s latest, WHEEL OF FORETASTE, is a short 16:30 encompassing three tracks.
The opening strains of “Salutation” lets you know that you’re in for a doomy, gloomy hard rockin’ good time. The tune features some Maiden-esque harmony guitar parts (supplied by Petri Hama and Tuomas Heinonen), suitably subdued vocals from Jussi Helle and a cool swirling, psychedelic vibe. The sound puts one in mind of the very first Black Sabbath album (but with a far better singer), with more than a touch of SAD WINGS OF DESTINY era Priest and a dollop of the Smithereens dropped into the batter for a little alternative sweetening. “Afterglow” is all about the heavy atmosphere and even heavier riffs. The track starts of with some hauntingly simple guitar picking accompanied by a spooky organ (by guest artist, Aki Laaksonen) and a deep-in-the-pocket drum groove (the latter thanks to Juho Alhola). Things grow heavier and a little spookier as the song progresses, particularly Helle’s Dave Vanian-like disaffected vocals and the creepy backing vocals; in fact, the whole song has kind of a Damned feel to it… just one more thing to like about Harvest Bell. The final number, “Too Hard a Habit,” is a solid, heavy blues rocker. It’s highlighted by that Sabbathy crunch, some stun guitar, powerhouse drumming and a nice bass groove from Jarno Makinen.
There isn’t a lot of information about this band anywhere on the internet, but I did read in a review or some such that they have over twenty additional songs in the can. If that’s the case, all I gotta say is: “Please… for the love all that’s holy… release a full-length album soon!” WHEEL OF FORETASTE is available as a three-song CD or a two-track seven inch vinyl single (with “Salutation” and “Afterglow”) from bloodrockrecords.bigcartel.com.