Eye of Solitude
Canto III

Eye of Solitude is a funeral doom/death metal band from the UK continuing the style that the country forged many years ago with the likes of My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and Anathema. Canto III is (obviously) their third release, and it really sees the band peak and carry the mantle from their county mates and peers as well as other top notch bands like Draconian, Panthiest and such.

And while a couple of the band members are involved in symphonic black metal band Sidious, Eye of Solitude shows where the band’s expertise is. Canto III is chock full of rending, layered, lumbering melancholy and somber atmospherics as well as a few moments where the Sidious side shines through with some surprisingly harsh moments of extremity. The six lengthy dirges all deliver lightly synth glossed gloom, deep, cavernous vocals and those oh so evocative, ponderous riffs, wilting melodies and acoustics meant to strum on your heart strings and drag you into a misery drowned stupor. But it’s sudden injections of blackened or death metal tinged ferocity that will wake you suddenly amid the squalor.

Look no further than opener “Act I: Between Two Worlds (Occularis Infernum)” with its acoustic opening, rending lope, pained Italian spoken word (the album is after all based on Dante’s Inferno) and rather surprising black/death metal spurt around 5 1/2 and 10 minutes in. These moments keep the long tracks from becoming too much doom or simply overwhelmingly depressing (I’m looking at you Mournful Congregation). Second track “Act II: Where the Descent Began” gets right to it with a rending orchestral lope before some very well done, depressing clean vocals and violin work really sucks the life out of you, before one of those more extreme breaks kicks in and revives you.

And that’s pretty well the formula for each of the very competent songs. Some gloomy, plodding funeral doom, some keys, a bit of a blast and back to the doom. But the formula is done so well and the doom element so rending, that it never gets old. “Act III: He Who Willingly Suffers” builds with a lovely piano and clarinet intro before a perfectly structured funeral doom march. “Act IV: The Pathway Had Been Lost” is the albums only slight misstep going for a more gothic, mopey, Paradise Lost riff and pace, even with the deep vocals and the overdone mid song weeping/waling section, it’s a bit sugary. “Act V: Sat In Silence” atones with a traditional funeral doom plod.

“Act V: In the Desert Vast” ends the album with that rare uplifting, but still doom aura where rays of light shine through the gloom and shimmers with somber grace, especially the long piano interlude and subsequent cavernous bellow and chug, ending the album impressively and certainly putting Eye of Solitude as heirs to thier once great peers.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
February 14th, 2014

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