Eye Of Solitude have just opened another chapter full of grandeur and despair. Canto III is an hour-long testament to modern doom metal.
This is new age doom, inspired lyrically by Dante’s Inferno and crosses in equal parts of death metal, black metal and minimalistic post aesthetics. It’s unfair that these guys aren’t on the fore-front of the doom metal genre. Hailing from the U.K. and promoted through French label, Kaotoxin Records, Eye Of Solitude have released a barrage of music over the years but have stayed succinctly under the radar. For the most part, Canto III is an album of intrigue, not only because of the lyrical asset, but because in a world where expansive, deep doom metal is becoming a dime a dozen, Eye Of Solitude can still manage to separate itself from the ever-growing pool of mundane acts clutching at the straws of success without feeling contrived or forced. For the band as a whole, Canto III is as much a testament to the group’s unending longevity as it is a success to fans of the band, genre, metal and music alike. This is not a record to be taken lightly; rather it should be listened to again and again to let the message truly take hold of the transgression in the listener’s mind.
It seems the lyrical content of Dante’s Inferno is more or less a vehicle to translate deep emotion, raw and unrivalled by the petty thoughts of day to day life. The atmosphere builds and repeals, speaking of danger and triumph in the very face of something magnificent. It might not seem like a whole lot of praise for an album, but the fact is that the guys have worked, and worked hard for this monolithic slab of death/funeral doom metal.
Eye Of Solitude have always been somewhat orchestral, allowing the mood to swell and grow around the crushing guitar chords and ritualistic drum patterns, but Canto III sees the band take it up a notch, without losing the fundamental sound that separates them from the growing scene of death/doom acts. Everything has grown to one extent or another – – from mastermind composer and vocalist Daniel Neagoe, who delivers some of the year’s most intense growls, to even the guest appearances that provide sweet contrast in clean tones and warm violin sections. It goes without saying that there’s a lot going on here. Canto III stretches from guttural roars to simple spoken word over jazz inspired minimalistic doom sections. Everything has its place and can be brought back to stereotypical black and death metal aesthetics. What at first can be seen as layered sound turns into structured brilliance, twisting and binding the listeners’ sub-conscious into something numbing, but warm.
At the album’s core, is a melodic input that sees the anger, compassion, despair and grandeur take on a whole new level. Tremolo notes flirt with the rhythmic wrung out chords, adding layer upon layer, adding to the record’s overall story. With a run-time of sixty six minutes it takes a certain level of fondness for the genre as a whole to appreciate music so complex and expressive. Every track is in excess of eight minutes long, for some it may just be too much to handle, but the enthusiasts are sure to fall in love with everything the Eye Of Solitude crew have to offer.
So does Canto III stack up to the band’s past works? Well, it’s simple really. Canto III surpasses the group’s previous efforts and culminates into something completely of its own making. It seems taking a concept with such mystique as Dante’s Inferno gives the album so much more life, more depth. While the album as a whole remains a stand out, there are a couple of shining moments that reinforce the album’s entire message. Take the album’s opener for example: “Act I – Between Two Worlds (Occularis Infernum)”, with its orchestral moods transforming into devastating deep end growls. It’s not enough to simply bring these elements together, Eye Of Solitude convincingly deliver a complex arrangement, making it an excellent introduction to what would normally be a half-assed effort to make something profound, and better than the norm.
Overall, it’s hard not to appreciate the complexity found throughout Canto III. Masterminded by some of the brightest doomsters to be found in the United Kingdom, ‘Canto III’ unleashes an onslaught of creative contrast. Highs with lows, smooth with outrageously vivacious growls. This is an album not to be passed up lightly. It looks pretty standard on paper but it all comes together within sixty-plus minutes of run-time. A worthy Album Of The Year contender.
01. Act I: Between Two Worlds (Occularis Infernum)
02. Act II: Where The Descent Began
03. Act III: He Who Willingly Suffers
04. Act IV: The Pathway Had Been Lost
05. Act V: I Sat In Silence
06. Act VI: In The Desert Vast