If there’s one complaint I constantly hear from people who are not inclined to like doom, it’s that the songs tend to be long. This isn’t an inaccurate assessment of a lot of doom bands, and if you don’t have the patience for songs that take their time and stretch, you might want to go read something else. Today just might break you.
English doom band Eye of Solitude have one of the more demanding releases that recently landed, that being their new EP “Dear Insanity.” First, I take issue with this being labeled an EP, but that probably has more to do with what that kind of release entails. You know, a handful of songs that come and go. Yeah, OK, this is just one track, that being the title cut. But this son of a bitch is just a few ticks under 50 minutes long, a full-length document for any other band on the planet (and this is only 16 minutes shorter than the group’s last record “Canto III”). Sure, there is plenty of room to split hairs there, and I don’t care to do that. Instead, let’s focus on the major commitment you must make to this thing. You’re not pulling out a bit here and there. There are no multi-track movements to help you navigate. You get it all. In one large chunk. For consumption in one sitting. So yeah, if long doom tracks aren’t your thing, you’ll want to bow out.
I feel bad for anyone who decides to avoid this thing, because “Dear Insanity” is one hell of a compelling listen, and it doesn’t feel like it lasts as long as it does. Along the way, we get heavy drubbing, funeral doom-like weariness, gothic transmissions, drone, and outright fury, with so many peaks and valleys, it’s easy to lose count. The band—it consists of four Sidious members in vocalist Daniel Neagoe, guitarists Mark Antoniades and Steffan Gough, and bassist Chris Davies, with drummer Adriano Ferraro the only one not in the other group—weaves this huge piece together nicely, and giant helpings of drama and emotion packed into this song should be more than enough to keep you tuned in from front to back.
The track gets started with a serious pocket of synth fog, boiling and taking its time to get started because, let’s face it, they’re not in a hurry to get anywhere. There are wails in the background, sounding pained physically and emotionally, and the initial growls are buried under murk before the song breaks open eight minutes into the epic. There, the screams get nastier and meaner, with sorrowful melodies sprawling and dragging you into the darkness. At about the 15-minute mark, synth rises up and overrides the madness, with foggy, dreary passages, and minutes later the track heading into teary, goth-style melodies. The bottom drops again about a half hour into the song, driving slowly and letting the fires gain steam and choke your lungs, but that’s later displaced by another front of calm, with keys trickling and injecting some psychedelic notes into the track. With about 10 minutes remaining, all of the previous elements come together, with lead guitars churning over top, the track storming steadily and menacingly, and the last throes of punishment finally giving way to dark keys that evaporate into the night.
Even longtime fans of Eye of Solitude might be taken aback by what they hear on this release, but if you’re familiar with the band’s past and growing ambition, you won’t be surprised. It’s an interesting project they undertook here, and the fact they deliver it so well and devastatingly goes to show how good these guys are as creators. Get comfortable, take a deep breath, and get ready to take a trip that demands your undivided attention.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/eyeofsolitudeband
To buy the album, go here: http://shop.kaotoxin.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://kaotoxin.com/