by Jen Bender (@JennifaBenda)
As much as I love the current trend of long-winded, perplexing band names, I’m also a big fan of names that evoke the band’s sound or essence. Spellbinder fills this slot. Whenever I sit and listen to their 2017 release, Heavenhouse (and trust me, it’s been more than a few times), I do feel spellbound - I never want to break the flow of the album as it moves seamlessly from track to track.
The album is quick listen, 13 minutes of “trash rock” executed with my personal favorite combination of heavy guitar distortion and gentle vocals. Tracks like “Blair” and “Brother” are loud but soothing, and overwhelming in the best possible way.
Besides its grasp of the balance between loud and gentle, several elements set Heavenhouse apart from the crowd. Spellbinder has a grip on something otherwordly, and they know it; track three is literally titled “Otherworld,” chugging along into the cosmic unknown and then suddenly switching meter, keeping you on your toes despite your spellbound state; “Brothers Grimm” is another track with that hypnotic, spacey feel, executed by synth sounds (or maybe aliens, I haven’t decided).
My favorite track on the record, though, is “Storm” - it grows and then fades away, only to return with a fascinating, eerie synth sound floating conspicuously behind the rest of the instruments. I’m looking forward to the next rainy day I can sit back and listen to the storm both raging outside my window and fading gently in and out of my headphones. If you have 13 minutes to spare, it’s more than worth your time.