As is the case with many forms of music, the UK shows the rest of the world how things are done. In the small, murky arena of Goth and doom metal hovers EYE OF SOLITUDE, darker kindred to MY DYING BRIDE and ANATHEMA. If you thought those acts could leave you as hopeful as navigating your way through the deepest sewers without the benefit of light, EYE OF SOLITUDE musically posits you should abandon hope altogether.
They do so, however, with magnificent successions of lavish if chilly textures. Even black metallers have something to fear from these guys, who are now delivering their third full-length album, the beleaguering yet outlandishly esthetic "Canto III".
EYE OF SOLITUDE is comprised of bassist Chris Davies and guitarist Mark Antoniades from SIDIOUS and subwoofing growler Daniel Neagoe, found in many other metal acts such as DEOS, COLUSUS, UNFATHOMABLE RUINATION and GOTHIC. Rounded by guitarist Indee Rehal-Sagoo, drummer Adriano Ferraro and keyboardist Pedro Caballero Clemente, the band implements a repetitive funeral fugue throughout "Canto III" that's pardonable beyond Daniel Neagoe's horrid retching, because everything else about this album is superbly crafted.
In most cases of the extensive six songs (or "Acts") on "Canto III", the dank death and doom measures that come flogging into play are bookended by articulated synths, chamber strings, piano and solemn cleans by Daniel Neagoe, who shows thankful dexterity. Neagoe is especially effective when chanting in Latin on "Between Two Worlds (Occularis Infernum)" and later with his empathetic swoon in the middle of "I Sat in Silence".
The somber yet enchanting piano lines from Pedro Caballero Clemente on the intro for "He Who Willingly Suffers" offers a despondent if extraordinary sense of vicariousness before the heavier progressions stamp into place and Neagoe dumps his putrid throat lava into the composition. The unholy combination of the two melds beauty and hideousness as grandiose guitar sweeps hover atop the forlorn plod of the song. Later, Neagoe intercedes with placid spoken word that grows in agitation overtop a reprise of Caballero Clemente's somber melody plus methodic snare and cymbal rides from Adriano Ferraro before the song flares once again with raging despair.
By this time, newcomers to EYE OF SOLITUDE will be well onto their game, yet redundant as the band's scheme may be, it's addicting. These guys carefully sculpt their fusty compositions so that the eruptive double bass blasts manifesting incrementally in each piece are as climactic as Mark Antoniades and Indee Rehal-Sagoo's forsaken guitar curves and dazzling solos. EYE OF SOLITUDE has a keen ear for melody, so much the initial harmony guiding "The Pathway Had Been Lost" sounds like a lost and metalled-up early-years MISSION UK track. As "The Pathway Had Been Lost" momentarily surrenders to a lengthy but grandiose synth interpretation of the opening melody, Daniel Neagoe shiver-cries in clean mode before shrieking in torment behind a distressing yet striking guitar solo.
Death seldom sounds welcoming, much less in music form, but outside of the unattractive and prolonged demon ralphs, EYE OF SOLITUDE might have pinched the corner on fugue doom. There's much to embrace with "Canto III", even with its concussive depression. If you move quickly, there's also a special two-disc edition with bonus material limited to 1,000 copies that's well worth your investment.