Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wall Of The Eyeless - Wimfolsfestta (Demo) (2013)

Much like the one man bands that have become a growing trend, forming a dynamic duo has become a much more viable option. That is assuming that one, if not both, of the band members can be versatile, playing multiple instruments. As with many of these acts, Wall Of The Eyeless combines the talents of SL, a blooming multi-instrumentalist originally from Russia, and Simon, a young yet aged drummer from Sweden. Having come together in the winter of 2011, the two quickly gelled, writing and recording their first demo. With the release of "Through Emptiness" in December of that same year, they asserted themselves into the conversations of many a metal fan across Europe and beyond. But that was only the beginning. Their new demo, which stands as a testament to their talent and growth, was produced by Marduk bassist Magnus Andersson and mastered by the legendary Jens Borgren. And so it stands to reason that "Wimfolsfestta" is the next in a line of many releases to come; their best to date, but only the start.

With the monstrous "Flicker" kicking things off, you wouldn't be alone in feeling slightly intimidated. But the layered clean guitars that open the nearly ten minute track are enough to put you at ease. The organic buildup from quiet to explosive is seamless, something that only strengthens the musical output. And when the instrumental truly does explode, right around the time the first growl peeks through, you begin to see what you're dealing with. There is a free-form quality to the song, one that allows it to bend and change over its run time. And within that framework are a wealth of styles and sounds, going well beyond the norm. In any minute long cross section, you could easily dissect and digest three or four different subgenres, all cobbled together in a sturdy, if not risky, fashion. The guitar work in all segments is fantastic, bordering on obscene. And while the ticking of the clock opens "The Longest Winter," you are certainly nowhere near an end. The layering of the different elements here is a dangerous one, with the mix always seeming like it is on the verge of a full collapse. Yet, somehow, it stands up to the barrage of wild instrumentals and deathly growls. The key, though, is the way the subtle, if not altogether eery melodies float around in the background, giving the song a needed dose of contrast.

That same dynamic works wonders in "Revulsion Fever," but with an added emphasis on percussion. You won't find any generic drum patterns here, as each space is deftly filled with either a fill, roll, or leg driven kick set. With a quick clean interlude, one the captures the mood and melody necessary to elevate the track to new levels, you are launched into an entirely different facet of the bands talents. Hidden in the middle of the album is a chunk of melodic metal that defies convention, and showcases some lightning quick, surgically precise guitar work. The final piece on the album is perhaps the most impressive. Slowing the tempo down to begin "Piercing Mist," the band infuses a healthy chunk of traditional doom metal into an already packed house. The crawling tempo, backed by double kicks, sets into motion a closing track of epic proportions. It is the songwriting process that deserves the most credit, with seemingly every piece thought out to the nth degree. When the massive eruption comes just beyond the halfway point, you can't possibly be prepared. It is controlled aggression, rather than out of control noise.

It is the combination of all of the elements at play here - the songwriting, the musicianship, the production work, the recording and mastering - that makes this effort head and shoulder beyond their first. Wall Of The Eyeless have grown in leaps and bounds over the last two years. In fact, it is often hard to believe that this band still only has two members. The depth of sound they've created here is extraordinary, and their range of motion is even moreso. They've chosen to color outside the lines; all of them. They refuse to be constrained by traditional structures and rules, choosing to go into the gray areas and test the waters there. They are thriving in places where others often fail. And that has made all the difference. It's hard to try to imagine where things would go from here; there are endless possibilities and limitless potential. But if "Wimfolsfestta" is any indication, there is a long, bright future ahead for these two like minded musicians.


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