Kaotoxin Records 2012
1.Awoken By Crows 2.The Haunting 3.Strigoi 4.A Note To Say Farewell
5.Depths Of A Sick Mind 6.Those Who Don't Return
7.Performed In Graphic Pain 8.Totem Of A Pagan Thought
9.Yet I Breathe 10.Departure
Having reviewed the bands ‘Eye of Solitude’ release and given it a score of 9 out of 10, expectations were extremely high and from the instant the CD started whirling around in the player and the eerie intro of crows ‘cawing’ it became obvious the band were not about to disappoint. ‘Awoken By Crows’ spews forth monstrously, yet again Daniels vocals delivered with what are some of the best death metal vocals ever heard, ultra guttural in delivery and reeking of morbidity. Musically, the band have kept to the same formula seen in previous releases, the passion, the mournful atmosphere all captured brilliantly. ‘The Haunting’ is just that, the atmosphere being created utterly desperate, bleak and with little hope in sight. Desperation etched into every single second of the track, this is funeral doom and its most devastating and once again, pain and sorrow etched into every note, every grief ridden vocal line. The keyboards add such tension and are the perfect back up to the heavy, punishing guitars. The song breaks in a melodic, acoustic guitar lead passage, giving the listener brief respite before the melancholy once again consumes all in its path and again, utterly devastating. What sets the bands apart from a lot of similar bands in the genre is the use of lead guitars, not so much used as solos, more harmonies over the heavy guitars which works beautifully, grotesquely so.
‘Strigoi’ opens up with slight pace added to the riffs, only slight however, as the opening passage doesn’t last long. Every instrument drops out to let the synths take over, allowing the atmosphere of the song expand out into the eternity. What also makes E.O.S stand out from bands playing a similar style is their willingness to inject some more familair sounding swedish death metal sections into their tracks and allowing the pace to increase. This allows the drums to open up, which quite often break out in a punishing barrage of double kicks that really thump at the chest, such is the power of the production. There’s also an almost progressive edge to the band at times, as heard in ‘A Note To Say Farewell’. Beginning with the bands now familiar devastating sound, the track then takes on a whole new feel as the heavy distorted guitars are replaced by a melodic solo, accompanied by soft, atmospheric synths and simple, but very effective drum work. This theme is then continued throughout the remainder of the song, utterly compelling with sadness and grief etched into every note once again. It’s very hard to describe just how good this is! If you have lost someone very close to you, listening to this, your thoughts will begin to turn to them. A sadness at the loss captured perfectly in music form. ‘Depths Of A Sick Mind’ is slightly different in composition, samples and effects used heavily giving the track a different feel to those witnessed previously. These sampled sections are prevalent throughout, making this song not really a song, more a series of interludes, a brief rest from the relentless barrage of misery and despair. Vocally very sparse, the track ends with synths and a guitar solo leading the way. At 13:12 ‘Those Who Don’t Return’ is an absolute beast of a song and the longest on the album. Best prepare yourself before setting off on this specific journey, it’s going to be fucking heavy going! Half way through, the track breaks from the overwhelming heaviness and another melodic guitar interlude used alongside samples. It doesn’t last long however, the band returning the track to the over-powering heaviness, continuing the haunting and morbid soundtrack and torturing the listener once more. Once again Daniel is drawing every ounce of pain and despair from every single word. In a previous review I commented that his vocals were some of the best death metal vocals I had heard in a long time…I absolutely stick by my words once again, his ultra-guttural, gravelly voice the perfect way to express pain, grief and despair. For such a long track, it doesn’t feel that long at all, being drawn into the music, you begin to lose yourself, time becomes un-important, a mere number and nothing more. ‘Performed In Graphic Pain’ see’s the re-introduction of a more death metal approach, the pace upped ever so slightly before the whole track changes direction completely, synths used separately to break the track up in another melodic, but haunting interlude. As the heaviness is re-introduced the track then once again takes on a more death metal sound with the pace being upped again and guitar harmonies that are so catchy your mood is almost lifted by the turn in proceedings. However, E.O.S do not want to be ones to lift moods, they want you to remain in the grief stricken mire that they are surrounding you in.
‘Totum Of A Pagan Thought’ is testament to that, dropping the atmosphere to one of grief, sadness and despair, all common feelings, thoughts and atmospheres in the bands world. As catchy guitar harmonies are re-introduced, the realisation that funeral doom can be catchy washes over you. And then in a brilliant change of pace altogether, the song erupts in a barrage of blast beats, absolutely outstanding and proof (if any were needed) that E.O.S can mix things up and are not a one trick (funeral doom) pony. ‘Yet I Breath’ returns to the more familiar slow, chilling atmospheres that the band are best known for. It’s fair to say that I’ve never heard a band able to craft and create such filth ridden atmospheres so easily! The fittingly titled ‘Departure’ ends this album. It feels like the band have taken you on a journey, delving deep into your psyche and taking you on a haunting, grief stricken ride which you’re really never going to forget. The soft acoustic guitars are the perfect way to finish the journey. The quality on show throughout all ten songs is nothing short of perfect. Words are hard to describe the chilling atmospheres, the devastating melancholy and depressive sounds being created. It’s another master-class in how funeral doom should be delivered to the listener, and a sound I certainly never tire of. Never have a band impressed me quite so much as E.O.S. Their sound so unique in what is an exceptionally hard musical genre to “get right”, but get right they do. There’s no faulting this release at all. Impressed when I first heard the band, they have not let my expectations down. The album of 2012 so far, it will take something very special from another band to top the quality on show here. In fact I’m pretty safe in saying, I don’t think anyone will. Utterly devastating, punishing and compelling funeral doom/death, you really need to get hold of this release, turn the lights off and bask in the utter melancholy. As highly rated as it gets
9.5 out of 10