Taking the "out there" NEUROSIS-like vibes of mind benders MINDROT and translating it into a more purposeful and melodic direction, EYES OF FIRE founders vocalist/bassist Matt Fisher and vocalist/guitarist Dan Kaufman made quite a splash in the metal ocean with 2003's "Ashes to Embers". Honing the craft further with what are arguably its most hypnotically tuneful (and every bit as brain busting) collection of songs, "Prisons" may turn those same waves into tsunami level events.With producer extraordinaire Matt Bayles (ISIS, MASTODON, PEARL JAM) in tow, EYES OF FIRE once again turns odd tunings and tectonic movements into song craft that amazes with the fusion of the heavy and the melodious. Whereas a song like "Blood (This Consumes You)" angrily invades with Kaufman and Fisher's patented angst-ridden vocals and bruising approach, "It All Dies Today" and "Dead to the World" are at once rife with the purging of repressed rage and oddly tuneful in delivery. Pete Truax's often creepy keyboard effects makes the experience that much more dark and foreboding. The manner in which these elements are brought together is most impressive. The rhythmic density and thick layers of riffs slowly grinds the listener into dust, the emotional outpouring of it all somehow inducing both mental paralysis and soulful liberation. There is just something about the way the band grinds away and ultimately smothers with its music, producing a constant feeling of anxiety, yet still hooking you with expertly written melodies. The overall intensity of "Prisons" makes it an album that works better when it is consumed whole. A song-by-song sampling only leaves you uneasy and wanting. The investment of time pays off handsomely. Once the EYES OF FIRE addiction takes hold, kicking the habit becomes a near impossibility.
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