Vacant Eyes

Album Title: 
The Dim Light Of Introversion
Release Date: 
Monday, February 3, 2014
Review Type: 

Vacant Eyes are a band from Easthampton, Massachusetts, which were formed in 2011 by Josh Moran. Initially it was a solo-project by this multi-instrumentalist, whom you might find back nowadays in the modern / progressive Black-outfit In Human Form too, or in Groove / Death band Krakatoa (twice as guitar player). After a while, Josh recruited some members, and Vacant Eyes evolved into a real band. That’s the fact as well for this first full length, where Josh was helped out by some other skilled musicians.

First a short word about the lay-out: the cover picture is pretty nice, but the pictures inside (as well as the CD itself), i.e. black-and-white trees and landscapes, are so eye-freezing (does that word exist? Now it does) that I am about to get horn… to get, eh, whatever, it’s just fitting to what the aural part stands for.

The Dim Light Of Introversion was originally supposed to call Entity, but during the recording sessions, Josh and his crew decided to change this title into the current one. Anyway… The EP consists of a short introduction (3:40) and three long epics (in between nine and twelve minutes). That introduction, Silent Acquiescence, is a pretty sad, mournful piece with dual acoustic guitars and, if I’m not mistaken, cello, and towards the end some piano as well. This piece nicely defines what’s next to come: indeed, more unhappiness translated in sonic melodies. Indifference, The Cortex and the title song are the kind of melancholic Doom-Death that makes the listener dream away. Without being ‘retro’, the core is based on tradition, going for both song structures as well as execution. Even the grunts bring back the nineties to mind. But Vacant Eyes are not just another band, for they come with some own elements. Besides the traditional Doom-Death aspects (melodic riffing, a heavy rhythm section, abyssal grunts and that sloooow tempo), they inject their creations with quite some Funeral Doom-elements. Besides, there is quite some variety, without lacking coherence. An example is the permanent change in speed and structure. When it comes to the first, the tempo, well, slow parts interchange with even slower ones, and once in a while the whole accelerates towards mid-tempo, though being the slowest dimension of mid-tempo, evidently. But despite the genre this act might be labelled to, they are not of the monotone kind, yet pretty diverse in construction. This goes for the melodies, of course, yet there are quite some additions based on piano or (semi) acoustic guitars. The keyboards are neatly supporting the three compositions, by covering the whole experience in a pretty obscure and oppressive mist. The subtlety of those synths is so hidden and, at the same time, prominently present.

The production (Brian Westbrook, PDP Productions) is like it needs to be: pretty clean (I said ‘clean’ and not ‘clinical’), yet with quite some rough-edged result, focusing on heaviness. Also the mix is highly qualitative, with every player getting accentuated; the bass lines, for example, are not inferior to the lead guitars, or the drum patterns are not overruling the guitar rhythms. And it’s not that, when the piano or acoustic guitars join in, that the other instruments fade away shamelessly. No, the equilibrium of all instruments has been worked out very professionally, yet without turning into chirurgically-precise over-production.

In general, this is not a renewing album (at all). Forget experimentation or originality, because you won’t get some – more than once you might get the impression that you heard comparable stuff before; something you cannot, and may not, ignore. But once again the result is highly acceptable. Vacant Eyes convince, and for sure they will please fans of Mourning Beloveth, Indesinence,  Shape Of Despair, Frailty, Mournful Congregation, Swallow The Sun, October Tide or Doom:VS.