Upon hearing that there was new Eye Of Solitude music in the works I’ll readily admit my excitement for an already solid 2018 (speaking musically) immediately spiked into almost unreachable levels of hype, allowing the ease of hyperbole to spew from my brain in ever-stretching metaphors and imagery. Since already covering a few of the band’s projects (and side projects) before I had to reach out to the band and Eye Of Solitude’s lyrical mastermind, begging for the chance to hear ‘Slaves To Solitude’ in full, completing the proverbially incomplete circle of a band very much in their prime (and not yet finished making music).
Largely, the new Eye Of Solitude album is a hugely rewarding experience, encapsulating on the band’s previously mentioned ‘Canto III’ meets ‘Cenotaph’ sounds. And as much as I want to say that this UK based death/doom act have improved on the formula set in the records mentioned above… but considering they’ve set the bar pretty high, ‘Slaves To Solitude’ is about as close to perfect as you’re likely to get from any death/doom bands past, present and future.
‘Slaves To Solitude’ expands on the kakotopia found on previous records, allowing the dystopian atmosphere to leech, captivate and ultimately continue the Eye Of Solitude legacy. Fairly, there are some drawbacks to the style of music Eye Of Solitude play; namely, in the formulaic light and dark contrasts that help carry tracks from “A” to “B”. It’s a minor issue, and one that this premiere doom band has done well enough to minimize in regards to their own music.
With that out of the road, it becomes easier to appreciate Eye Of Solitude’s newest offering. The album’s overall run time helps bring sound and theme together without lending itself to a tiring, all encompassing and overbearing listen. ‘Slaves To Solitude’s’ opening track, “The Blind Earth” sets the mood early. The usual monolithic fan fare of Eye Of Solitude’s signature sound permeates clearly, a minimalist soundscape building on a depressive foundation of barely whispered voices and foreboding presence. Eye Of Solitude enforce their simple mastery adding layer after layer slowly for full effect. Low piano notes and seemingly random bass kicks brake the monotony, maintaining the atmospheric nuances that define the band’s music. Typically the dystopian minimalism is broken by the chasm deeps found within Daniel’s ever-powerful death growls. It’s part of what Eye Of Solitude stand for, how they stand for it and how they tell their story. With tracks in constant excess of the eight minute mark (most of the album’s tracks surpass the ten minute milestone) it’s fair to say that listeners will require some patience for this journey of doom, but that’s exactly what ‘Slaves To Solitude’ is, best appreciated while sipping wine on a bleak and raining day.
“Confinement” builds on the melancholic, forever at arm’s reach for Eye Of Solitude. More spoken word bridges the gap between music and listener, remaining somewhere between oppressive minimalism and dragging atmospherics. It’s a devastating combination, without overdoing the theme and consorting a cringe-worthy case of cheese. At times, ‘Slaves To Solitude’ is a pleasantly debilitating listen. Eye Of Solitude make no apologies for combining features of their music found both within their 2013 offering, ‘Canto III’ and their last monolith, ‘Cenotaph’ but it’s clear that even with these forward thinking influences, ‘Slaves To Solitude’ stands firmly as it’s own chapter in the Eye Of Solitude story. The record’s closing piece, “Boundless Silence” especially stands true to the band’s soundscape, being one of the strongest tracks Eye Of Solitude have ever released. Devastating from the first notes, the track allows for full listener immersion. Just absorb that sentence for a moment; “full Immersion”. It’s not often music will demand full attention from its listener, taking hold of the root of a complete emotive transition while simultaneously taxing the very being of who we are as people. Eye Of Solitude paint on a canvas of sound and put simply, are one of doom’s most accomplished artists.
No matter how how you like your doom, there’s no denying that Eye Of Solitude have created a legacy of grandiosity and despair. ‘Slaves Of Solitude’ only reaffirms just why this UK based act sit firmly at the top of the totem pole, without forgetting just how they got there. Eye Of Solitude may make this scene look easy, but those in the know, know otherwise. It takes great talent, skill and natural ability to combine the very essence that brings all the best parts of doom together. ‘Slaves To Solitude’ is yet another monolithic slab of doom. The music is simple, yet powerful down to the very core. It’s an album that makes you “feel” something, even if you don’t want to. If you’re a fan of the band’s previous records this is yet another winner in the same style, same tier and yet, invariably different. Come immerse yourself in yet another Eye Of Solitude masterstroke.