Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, EYE have released their third studio album, “Vision And Ageless Light” which is an aptly entitled disc for this very interesting band. After a number of lineup changes, this four piece outfit have managed to craft a very elegant progressive space rock album classic in feel and structure which takes a trip back to the heady, halcyon days of the genre.
Rich synth textures open the album on “Book Of The Dead” with its mystical aura creating what feels like the backdrop to an ancient ritual before melting into the grand majesty of “Kill The Slavemaster”. This is a huge track that tips towards the grand power of early Queen with a Brian May style majesty and Pink Floyd funk reminiscent of “One If These Days”. Deep bass mixes with propulsive keys creating a dynamic, soaring soundscape. Then out of the blue, blasts of Zappa-esque guitar soloing from Jon Finley which are full of jazz explorations. Tasteful, dramatic and sometimes insane, this is a brilliant track that’s completely atmospheric and constantly reaching higher.
They don’t stop there with the psyche-prog whig outs either. A crazy little Hendrix “Manic Depression” inspired blast on “Searching” sets things up with some smooth riffing before oodles of fiery guitars with spiralling drum work from Brandon Smith whose clean, understated vocals add an almost British air to the proceedings. This is even more evident on “Dweller Of The Twilight Void” with its’ rich acoustic folk harmonies. Pretty and melancholy with syrupy keys, they manage to create a luscious atmosphere that contain moments of striking beauty.
In true early 70’s fashion, the final track would encompass the full side B on vinyl. Clocking in at 27 minutes, “As Sure As The Sun” could well run the risk of falling into pure self indulgence. The truth is, EYE have a multi-layered, thoughtful piece of ambient beauty. Like a sci-if soundtrack that would seem suited to Kubrick’s 2001, there’s dramatic, darker overtures that keep returning to the album’s earlier themes with some fine musicianship. They lean more on the “Dark Side Of The Moon” era Pink Floyd style with Lisa Bella Donna’s mastery of vintage Moog, organ and Mellotron continuing to create thoughtful textures.
Heavy by nature, this is an impressive journey. With cover art by Anthony Yankovic perfectly capturing the album’s contents, this is a must have for classic prog and space rock fans. The temptation is strong put the needle back to the start as each listen becomes more and more rewarding.
(8/10 Johnny Zed)