Eye of Solitude – Embers and InfernosMonday, 3rd February 2014
Gotta love a quick album turnaround, especially one that topples its predecessor. You see, DR can vividly remember our own Matthew Bowling covering England’s Eye of Solitude for our Blistering.com predecessor in late 2012, and being suitably impressed by the band’s fresh take on the stale, stoic, and staid funeral doom style. If the band isn’t an extreme death/doom near-revelation, then frankly, we don’t know who is.
Anyway, the above love-fest is in reference to the last two EOS albums – Sui Cadre, and its late-2013 follow-up Canto III. The album – released by French label Kaotoxin – is a conceptual piece about Dante’s Inferno, and according to bassist Chris Davies, came about so quickly thanks to singer Daniel Neagoe’s steady composition hand, and ability to craft tunes without the prerequisite two-year wait between albums that befalls lesser bands.
“Eye of Solitude has evolved from what was just his solo project several years ago, and it’s with his consistent quality of original compositions that we are able to release material as frequently as we do,” begins Davies. “We also digitally released a charity EP in February of last year entitled The Deceit, which felt like a good means of keeping our fans interested with some new tracks while we were between full-length releases, as well as using our music to donate some money towards a good cause.” [The EP was sold to raise funds for a Romanian organization for the blind. – ed]
The band already has three full-lengths under their belt (their The Ghost debut was released in 2011), along with a spate of EPs, which suggests that motivation is hardly an issue in the ranks (“We all love what we do,” enthuses Davies). Plus, steady logistics in and around their London locale that makes practice and recording easy. And – gasp – there are six dudes in the band.
“Well, we’re all based in and around London so it’s not an impossible distance for any of us to travel to meet,” says Davies. “Also, we’ve got our own rehearsal space which is great because we can adapt our practice times to fit around the availability of all six members without having to worry about cancellation fees which usually apply to hired rehearsal rooms. Outside of the band, we all get on really well anyway so it’s always nice to have an excuse to hang out, with the added bonus of playing our music together!”
By no means a casual and/or comfortable listen, the monolithic death churns combined with feral blasts of extremity makes Canto III an album ripe for keeping the listener off-balance, and engaged. Generally, funeral doom bands are content to lull the listener into some kind of hypnotic state with repletion and droning riffs, but not Eye of Solitude.
“I definitely think the listener would get the most out of the album by fully engaging with it, but there’s no right and wrong way to enjoy any music,” says Davies. “If someone thinks that they’ll enjoy our music most by blasting it out of a stereo while they drink and chat with friends, then that’s cool. Equally, if someone would prefer to zone out with their headphones on and close their eyes leaving their mind open to whatever sort of imagery the music conjures up, then that’s cool too. Personally, for this sort of music, I would choose the latter!”
As stifling, towering jaunts such as “Between Two Worlds (Occularis Infernum)” and “Where the Descent Began” get rolling, the concept of Canto III starts to take shape. “We wanted to write a conceptual album and Dante’s Inferno suited the symbolism perfectly,” admits Davies. “The trip to Hell and what it resembles as an idea was perfectly portrayed in Dante’s lyrics. Having six members in the band helps to bring in a variety of different influences, which definitely adds diversity to our sound. Our songs are written with the intention to convey different aspects of emotion and, as we all know, emotions can vary in severity – as can the music.”
In order to bring the sprawling concept of Canto III to the masses, live gigs (duh) are a requirement. Having hit the boards last year for a round of shows with such doom hot-trotters in the form of The 11th Hour and Mourning Beloveth in Germany, Eye of Solitude anticipates 2014 being a far more active year on the live front. The band has just wrapped up a mini-tour with Marche Funèbre, and figure to roll out more live dates with the prospect of touring a real possiblity.
“Touring is definitely something we would like to do more of in the future,” finishes Davies. “I’d love to take our music across parts of Europe for a decent length of time. It would require a lot of planning but it’s certainly a possibility and something I’m sure we’d all be interested in doing. However, doing the occasional one-off show has its advantages too. There’s always a great vibe in the crowd and we all seem to appreciate everything far better than if we played every weekend at any old local shitty venue!”