Sunday, December 29, 2013

death doom for a new year: Eye of Solitude (U.K.)

Eye of Solitude (U.K.)
The previous album by Eye of Solitude, “Sui Caedere” (2012), impressed me beyond expectations because said work is a bit different from what I imagine within “funeral death doom.” Although “Sui Caedere” is definitely very slow and heavy, it uses enough melody to catch the listener’s attention.
Logically, when I found out that the band has a new album called “Canto III,” I couldn’t help but expect low-growl, super heavy duty funeral death doom. However, I was wrong. Or, at least, I was wrong about several important aspects.
The main overall element about “Canto III” that distances the album from its predecessor is how wide Eye of Solitude has cast its net. The big umbrella under which all of the band’s sounds can be labeled is still “death doom.” Nevertheless, that’s not entirely correct, given the variety found throughout the songs. Namely, blasting speed comprises a crucial ingredient in the music. Black metal energy has been embraced, and both the speed and the guitar work have mutated the frame in which the band’s sound operates. These “symphonic, blasting black metal” passages have altered the way that the listener will understand Eye of Solitude here.
Of course, there are other aspects, such as the guitar melodies in some segments, that add bright spots to the depressive doom. In addition, a small to moderate use of “clean” vocals brings new dimensions, as if Eye of Solitude has thrown open the doors to its music. Seeing that the growling by this band is low, guttural and indecipherable, the “clean” vocals add a discernable contrast.
All in all, this album is a tad “accessible” due to the variety of styles. Yet, it still demands patience and trust from the listener. For instance, one has to wait about three minutes of introductory atmosphere, before the first song gets going. This six-track album is over an hour of music, meaning that instant gratification is not the objective. Rather, it’s meant to take several listens and lots of time before the clouds and dust of death doom clear up a bit and give way to the melody, nuances and intelligibility.
As we know, It’s difficult to be perfect, and sure enough, my ears have had a bit of trouble on a couple of different points. In my opinion, when the music is going fast, the drums sound too plastic, like a drum machine. My ears also noticed the “modern” production: the “wall of loud noise” approach seems to drown out the contrasts and shades too much, creating the sensation of an album that is a bit too loud for its own good.
Despite these subjective matters, I do not hesitate to recommend this monster of an album to death doom listeners, who will be pleased with the heaviness, melodies and the effort on the part of Eye of Solitude, which has again achieved a strong success for itself.

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