Summer is approaching, and we all know what that means: it’s time to listen to music that makes you feel some relief as you feel sweltering heat on your skin. As someone who generally hates warm weather, nothing makes me more irritable than lying in a puddle of my own sweat and wishing for my own death. With this in mind, Eye of Solitude’s newest album, Slaves to Solitude, delivers top-notch funeral doom that works their aesthetic to new ground.
Right off the bat, Slaves to Solitude starts by setting the mood – a dark, all-encompassing tone that makes this album difficult to wade through on first listen. Everything is layered with thick, sludgy vocals, monotonous yet superb instrumentation, and an impending sense of despair that never goes away, even when the vocals become clean or there is a piano interlude in the pulsing, musical mass. Because of this, it takes a while for the listener to warm up to the slow, paced tones of the music, especially when it feels like there is no end in sight. However, once the music begins to slowly become more emotional and atmospheric, Slaves begins to pick up. The vocals become the main focal point that helps break the music down into something more digestible, but never providing comfort when the listener needs it. This allows the listener to experience the changing atmosphere as it ebbs and flows into different moods and tones. Selectively listening to parts of the album heightens this experience, as it allows for unseen details to come through each time you cycle back to it.
Of course, this album is no easy listening experience as, due to its length, it requires taking time out of your day to listen to it. With each track hitting past the eight-minute mark, Slaves to Solitude demands your attention to bask in its slow crawl to completion. Granted, it may seem like the comedown never comes, but the nuances and slight changes in dynamics gives the listener that much-needed burst to continue onward to the end. I also want to quickly point out Slaves of Solitude’s minimalistic nature. Despite how expansive and pulsing the album can become, how it gets there comes from the band knowing their strengths and how best to combine them. With layering and combining, the impressive wall of sound that Slaves to Solitude has is poignant that you can marvel at how they got there.
All in all, Slaves to Solitude is an all-encompassing album whose despair becomes the core within its pulsating chaos. Although it may be a difficult listen for someone who is not into the genre, it’s worth the experience, especially if you are into how walls of sound can be incorporated without the help of other instruments. Even though I am not into funeral doom, I can still appreciate how it’s made and its place within the greater metal spectrum. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you cannot deny that Eye of Solitude excels at being both dark and dynamic at the same time.