Eye of Solitude
Cenotaph


5.0
classic

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (214 Reviews)
February 7th, 2018 | 14 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Enjoyable Solitude

Most people who read my reviews know I have a certain penchant for doom metal; more often than not I’ll be writing about the monolithic melancholic displays of unending compositions that draw in the listener with every ringing chord and lengthy death growl. Eye Of Solitude are a frequent listen of mine and that’s quite a feat considering the kind of music they record – here, they fit the bill perfectly.

Let’s get a few simple things out of the way; Eye Of Solitude are no flash in a pan. Having released a number of releases starting with a sold out debut, critically acclaimed follow ups, a number of EP’s and some of the finest deathen-ed inspired doom metal fans anywhere are likely to hear in the forms of Sui Caedere and Canto III. Fortunately, the band never found a way to stagnate or slow. The success that most bands take years to achieve Eye Of Solitude conquered from their inception. Starting out as a solo project, the wall of sound grew; transformed and matured as members were added to the roster. Eye Of Solitude stopped being a mere musical output and became sheer momentum. In truth it’s this state of being that keeps their music so fresh, taking hold of the listeners’ emotive stance. This is not happy music; you should have guessed that by the sombre notes pouring through the speaker.

Fast forward a few years and Eye Of Solitude are releasing their fourth studio full-length, titled Cenotaph and the band’s focus is clearer than ever. The art is bleak, oppressive and daunting. Life is absent from this image but there is still the foundation to house it, even if it’s not supported by an unforgiving environment. It ties in well with this oppressive wall of sound as the melancholic atmosphere lifts with each crescendo and kilter when the music minimalist in its being. To describe an album of this magnitude with a smattering of words on a screen don’t do justice to a record so monolithic it could out-do the pioneers to which the standards are created. ‘Cenotaph’ is a record defining a pioneering doom group in the modern age. From the opening notes of the album’s self-titled track it’s clear that Eye Of Solitude’s wall of sound is for sheer impact. Daniel’s demonic growls punch through the speakers, long and low identifying his terrifying growl as the best in the industry and while that may teeter on the edge of fanboy-ism, it’s actually an understatement. Slow tempos collide with low-tuned chordal structures and punching percussion, capped by Daniel’s now trademark cavernous roar. Each aspect is clear; from the synth providing the atmospherics to the low minimalist crescendo that builds towards the end of the track where clean vocals dominate the soundscapes. It’s a mind bending contrast, charged with emotion as the more melodious features of the group come to the forefront. Heavy chords are replaced with ringing slow leads as the song tracks its own natural progression. The ability of Eye Of Solitude to bring musical ideas together without forcing a certain sound or influence defines them as musicians, highlighting the sheer quality this UK band has.

Things only improve as the album continues. Despite having only four tracks and a run-time of 56 minutes, Cenotaph doesn’t drag or misstep. The record’s second track, ‘A Somber Guest’ further defines Eye Of Solitude’s doom domination. Yes, the ringing chords and growls are as present as always, but Eye Of Solitude have continued the vibes left in 2014’s ‘Dear Insanity’ EP showing greater respect for ‘how the individual elements all interact with each other. Layer upon layer is added to the foundations on which Daniel’s growls rest on. It showcases each of the band’s elements – not as individuals, but as a working machine with each gear clicking into the right space at the right time. Sure, the fifteen minute track time may be a turn off for some newer listeners, but there are those (me included) who wouldn’t mind a three hour long funeral doom opus from the Eye Of Solitude camp. ‘A Somber Guest’ would be a highlight of Eye Of Solitude’s career, if only the rest of this album wasn’t as good. As it stands, there is no ‘single’ highlight to be found here. All fifty-six minutes of this recording are deserving of their attention and define today’s Eye Of Solitude.

Comparatively, this is the musically thickest Eye Of Solitude album to date. Aided by a quality production and sweltering atmospherics there are no blank voids to be filled by insatiable cliché or underlying contriving notion. Tracks like ‘This Goodbye. The Goodbye’ stands as tributes, not defined by the band who wrote the music but in how Eye Of Solitude can reach out to the listeners’ mind-state and really interact with their fans. The sombre notes that propel the music forward into a rather emotive charged depressive state only intensify when the vocal sounds combine with this UK based soundscape. Instrumentally this album is absurdly perfect; the production only aids its transference from band to listener without cheapening or choking the atmospheric effect needed to bring all these elements together. The track also features the vocal parts of Déhá (We All Die (Laughing), Yhdarl, IMBER LUMINIS, AURORA BOREALIS, KHEL, ADN, MERDA MUNDI, NOD, ALENDA, SLOW) who sounds possessed as he pours what’s left into the end of the track. Coupled with Daniel’s unearthly growls, Déhá manages to wrap a soundscape of despair into the depths of Eye Of Solitude's music. It’s a blend of depressive black metal and funeral/death doom that sticks in the listeners’ minds even as the album progresses into its closing track.

It’s unlike me to list each and every track of an album in any review but it’s hard to do an album like this justice without every mention. Cenotaphs’ closing chapter simply titled, ‘Loss’ marks a culmination of the Eye Of Solitude soundscape, bringing every element of the band’s past and present together in a thirteen minute opus. Ethereal clean tones fill the room adding a classical influence to the band’s closing masterstroke. A simple repeating melody only increases the haunting atmospherics created by the clean vocal croons, echoed for full effect. The track itself doesn’t stay ‘clean’ as the track progresses into the band’s natural doom elements. Daniel’s vocals will long be the talking point of this band, putting them on full display throughout the record. ‘Loss’ moves forward in a rather optimistic way (slightly ironic considering the title) and the instrumental efforts become up-tempo, crescendo – to full effect. The band’s death/doom influence here is outstanding as Adriano Ferraro’s bass work accelerates into a glorious climax. The dual guitar efforts of Mark Antoniades and Steffan Gough are also showcased here as notes blend into riffs, notes trill into pure atmosphere, there’s even room to headbang. The boys know their job – and they do it well.

Overall it’s a wonder that more people aren’t talking about this band. Eye Of Solitude deserve the hype and while metal enthusiasts are currently digging the likes of Inter Arma’s and Inverloch’s newest records (both of which are spectacular) and Monolithe’s Zeta Reticuli (which regrettably fell short of expectation), Cenotaph will not only turn heads, but dominate this year’s metal releases. ‘Cenotaph’ has a lasting value rarely seen in doom metal and a replay value that is sure to last for years and while we know that the guys from Eye Of Solitude are great at pumping out high quality doom metal, I’ll be interested to see just what the future has in store for them (hopefully a three-hour long epic"). Let me not undersell this album. Modern music has come a long way, Eye Of Solitude had a head-start in the talent department, Cenotaph is a perfect representation of the excellence modern doom has to offer.



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user ratings (5)
Chart.
4.7
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related reviews

Dear Insanity


Comments:Add a Comment 
NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
February 6th 2018


7663 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The other guys were doing some of their 5's in review form so I thought I'd join in. This is stage #1 in bringing all my reviews to one platform (sput)

Digging: Locktender - Friedrich

50iL
February 6th 2018


4580 Comments


This looks dank as hell man, I’ll check. Good review.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
February 6th 2018


7663 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Sweet man thanks. I’m looking forward to their split this year. Should be epic

Hawks
February 7th 2018


53511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fuck yessss album slays. m/

Digging: Repulsion - Horrified

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2018


7663 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Hi Hawksie : ]



Best thing to come out 2016 for sure

Elynna
February 7th 2018


105 Comments


I was massively impressed with Canto III, so I'm not quite sure how this one slipped under my radar. Looking forward to giving this a solitary listen in the dark, the only way imo to fully appreciate funeral doom. And the review is solid as always.

Digging: Erdve - Vaitojimas

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2018


7663 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You’ll find the death doom so ever present here so don’t go expecting a fully misanthropic piece full of minimalist funeral doom. It’s what these guys excel at

Dimorphic
February 7th 2018


197 Comments


Never heard of these guys before but they sound great. Are they really that good? 4.7 from 5 ratings is pretty outstanding, even if the average does go down.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2018


22751 Comments


Hard mindpos. Haven't listened to this guys since Sui Caedere. Doom-y music doens't really do it for me anymore.

Digging: Basalte - Vertige

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2018


7663 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That’s a shame Brendan because I don’t think these guys are even capable of making a bad record.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2018


22751 Comments


I'm sure it's great tbh, it's really just my attention span that has trouble handing stuff like that anymore lol

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2018


7663 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah can definitely understand that. These days im using music as a therapeutic measure - just to simply get away from life haha.

Reviewc0re
February 7th 2018


27 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Why is feeling utter despair so enjoyable

Digging: Ingested - The Level Above Human

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2018


7663 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Because it relates so well.



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