EYES OF FIRE
"Ashes To Embers"

(Century Media)

01. The End Result Of Falling...
02. Empty
03. Fly Away
04. Hopeless
05. Down
06. Fear
07. Breath
08. One More
09. Anyone
10. Shelter
11. Last Goodbye

RATING: 8/10

Before you hit "play": if you're not prepared to be in it for the long haul with a band, then an album like "Ashes To Embers" could age you one-hundred years before it tails off at fifty-three minutes or so. But if you are, there are layers and layers of cerebral melody here to be sucked right into your mental vortex

Formed from the, erm, ashes of California's NEUROSIS doppelgangers MINDROT, EYES OF FIRE are, roughly speaking, a fusion of NEUROSIS' synaptic trippiness and ANTHEMA's soul-stirring drone. When these two influences come together in equal measure, you get the kind of captivating quiet-loud tripiness of the sprawling "Breath", or gargantuan closer "Last Goodbye" (what else?) that builds and builds and builds without tipping itself over the edge into angry noise. This kind of reluctance to hit a cacophonous conclusion might well frustrate some listeners who enjoy the noisier side of metal life, but this is part of the essence of a band like EYES OF FIRE — keeping things considered, quiet when necessary, and moody without constantly resorting to letting rip in a blood 'n' thunder fashion.

In keeping with the spaciousness that these kind of soundscapes demand, producer Cameron Webb (GODSMACK, DANZIG) has done a sterling job in giving them room to breathe. The naked acoustic murmur of "Anyone" (which, as mentioned, would probably seem out-of-place if it exploded into a storm of distortion) sits in there nice and sharp, whilst at the other end of the spectrum, "Empty", one of the more conventionally grinding tracks, growls resolutely without obscuring those little harmonic intricacies underneath.

A very rounded and multi-faceted album — could this be yet another turning point for thinking man's extreme metal?

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