Howls of Ebb
Vigils of the 3rd Eye


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jacquibim CONTRIBUTOR (51 Reviews)
April 12th, 2014 | 34 replies | 2,372 views


Release Date: 02/15/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A completely demented but charming ensemble of old-school horror in musical form.

Words seldom do justice when describing the muck that permeates Howls of Ebb’s debut full length Vigils of The Third Eye. Long-winded analogies and various descriptors clad with filth, grime, rotting corpses and rats eating said corpses all but fail, as one attempts to construct a mental image akin to the depravity spewed forth by this Californian trio. It feels like an irksome obligation to reel off a few band names for comparison, however cliché that may be. There are obvious musical parallels to Gorguts and Demilich, as well as more recent acts like Baring Teeth and Flourishing, though the overall presentation isn’t too dissimilar to something Antediluvian or even Mitochondrion would muster. Yet this process of arbitrary namedropping is still irritatingly vague, which highlights just how beyond description this album is. Howls of Ebb haven’t reinvented blackened death metal – at least not yet – but you would be hard pressed to say they haven’t significantly altered preconceptions of what can be done within the genre.

Vigils of The Third Eye sounds like a genuinely alien take on an already demented art form. Now this might be an approbation you’ve heard before, in fact you could wager it’s an innate quality of the genre, but Howls of Ebb amplify these extremes tenfold. Off kilter, almost tribal drumming staggers about in a strange yet harmonious embrace with the rest of the decadent rhythm section. Meanwhile, shape-shifting, atonal leads creep, slither or lurch depending upon their seemingly random embodiment. Patrick Brown’s vocals aren’t the usual, overtly-aggressive growls characteristic of modern death metal, but a sort of Lovecraftian, guttural, yet poetic narration. The lyrics range from virulent tales of torment and suffering, to wildly abstract elegies of almost indiscernible concept. Each of these individually discordant fragments are woven together and bound concretely by a reverberant, organic and dynamic production job, so as nothing sounds particularly out of place, but the element of insanity is still well preserved.

Howls of Ebb seem very inclined to utilise their manic concoction to full effect, experimenting where appropriate and even improvising during some of the longer tracks. Given the sheer oddness of some of the material, opportunities for such antics are highly abundant, without the running the risk of coming across as incongruent or self-indulgent. As a result, the diversity in some of these tracks with regards to timbres and interplay, let alone structure, is very impressive. Longer numbers such as “Martian Terrors, Limbonic Steps”, “Of Heel, Cyst and Lung” and the eleven-minute closer “The Devious Nectar – Purgatory Reprisal” feature extended passages of atonal, ringing leads, creeping bass lines and nuanced, textural chemistry. Moods are chilling and disconcerting, as if you’re being watched, the horror of which is compounded when the band ups the ante and your surroundings, seemingly sentient and hostile, proceed to twist and collapse before you. The whole ordeal is unnerving, but also hypnotic and addictive, indulging in the morbid curiosity that each and every one of us possesses, the slightly paradoxical desire to be frightened.

With Vigils of The Third Eye, Howls of Ebb have created an aural equivalent of an Early-Twentieth Century horror novel – a quirky, but superbly crafted collection of tales, free of shock horror gimmicks and the extraneous depiction of gore. The album’s inherent aggression seems to be a mere side effect of genre-specific truisms, as opposed to any conscious effort to be as fast or heavy as possible. The magic is in the details, its ability to tap into our innate fear of the unknown, eloquently constructing shady, dank scenarios and prudently contorting them into uncanny monstrosities.



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user ratings (15)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2014



13351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Hail Cthulhu

Digging: Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails

Kusangii
April 12th 2014



269 Comments


"Off-kilter, alien, atonal blackened death metal from San Francisco, CA. It's like if your head was where your ass was and yourass is where your head was."

Sounds... pretty damn intriguing.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
April 12th 2014



16242 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

not a 4.5 imo but it rules

Funeralopolis
April 12th 2014



10981 Comments


Gonna check, good review

Digging: Islander - Violence and Destruction

tempest--
April 12th 2014



12497 Comments


u 4.5 so much shit i think u gotta stop bein so generous with yr ratings but sounds sweet had this on my to d/l list for a couple of weeks gotta cheque hard

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2014



13351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It's only my 2nd 4.5 for the year, I don't think I'm that generous with ratings when you
consider I have over 1200 of them.

Funeralopolis
April 12th 2014



10981 Comments


Because I have nothing better to do I calculated:

Tempest has 14.8% of his ratings as 4.5s
Jac has 11.6% of his ratings as 4.5s

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2014



13351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Ha HA! Take that ~~tempest~~~~----~~

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
April 12th 2014



16242 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think I've given 2 new albums a 4.5+ over the last two years and less than 5% of my ratings
are 4.5 or above.

I just feel like only truly exceptional albums deserve a 4.5+

ShadowRemains
April 12th 2014



20223 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so weird and awesome

Funeralopolis
April 12th 2014



10981 Comments


Crysis tells the truth 4.8% of his ratings are 4.5 or above, although he does have the advantage of 4.4 and 4.3 ratings if you include those then it is 5.8%

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2014



13351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Well I mean ratings are obviously very srs business and they're different for everyone. We could go on all day about this, I mean for starters a very very big portion of my ratings are new albums and I see a lot of people being much more "generous" with older albums, slapping auto-5s and 4.5s on everything.

I have thought about giving my higher ratings a trim for some time but it would be easier to just wipe them and start again which I don't really feel like doing.

Now that that's settled can we pls talk about the review/album pls pls pls?

CaptainDooRight
April 12th 2014



28297 Comments


Nice review. This looks good

Digging: IQ - The Road of Bones

Propose
April 12th 2014



808 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

This is like the Lorde of death metal, try hard, pseudo- bare bones music trying to be eccentric.

tempest--
April 13th 2014



12497 Comments


what the fuck lol

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2014



13351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

lel what a retard

tempest--
April 13th 2014



12497 Comments


nah i was talking about all the posts about ratings lol

that propose dude is a fag i couldn't give two shits about him

titanslayer
April 13th 2014



1432 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I just heard a track on youtube, it was great

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2014



13351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Which one? They're all so awesome.

titanslayer
April 13th 2014



1432 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Illucid Illuminati of the Dark
Probably the best track I've heard this year



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