Two well respected bands in extreme doom circles go at it together for this split release, both with one track each. Due to the genre as you would expect that does not mean a shortage of material in any respect as the numbers weigh in with a combined total of 30 minutes between them.
Eye Of Solitude hail from our very own stomping ground of London town and contain musicians from a vast array of other projects in their ranks such as Bereft Of Light, Sidious, Vaer, Clouds; well a quick tot up past and present has no less than 32 listed so I won’t go on, you get the picture. Their discography contains 5 full length albums and various EP’s and splits and personally I particularly remember catching them live with Lifelover and Hypothermia and finding their stifling and somewhat claustrophobic take on funeral doom hitting the mark although not adding anything unexpected to the genre. That is pretty much a good summation of their track ‘Collapse’ here too. The 16 minute beast calmly ebbs in but melodically it is instantly transfixing, mellow but heady as it wafts around. Just when you are ready to drift off in its arms drums slowly crunch in, bass and guitar ballast strum and hideously low gurgling, beastly deep sea monster vocals fill the spaces between. Yep this is tried and tested funeral doom but that does not mean it can’t be totally appreciated by those who like some torturously slow drama in their lives. It meanders fluidly and the underlying textures are quite gorgeous seeping in under the hefty bass twang. It actually isn’t suffocating but quite arid and there is breath to be had here, the looseness in some of the fretwork along with the melody reminds a bit of Esoteric along with early Ahab and lovers of the art should find plenty to entrance them here. With some clean choral work and beautiful piano textures their work is actually somewhat graceful at conclusion. I am somewhat surprised the band haven’t got a bit of a bigger reputation and it appears that their next album released in June ‘Slaves To Solitude’ is only getting a very limited print run and is self-released.
Slightly shorter but with a lot more going on we move to Belgium and Marche Funèbre for their offering ‘Darkness.’ They have a few albums and a couple of smaller releases to their name too but although knowing them by title I am not so sure we have met before. This is a slightly different beast and twangs in with hefty bass definition and clean vocals that strike very much as belonging to the classic doom mould. However the singing is incredibly versatile throughout and as the weight of the music comes in and we get the impression of a slower doom / death modus operandi, throaty rasps add beastliness to proceedings. It is no surprise to discover that the band have no less than 4 vocal contributors on this particular number and as things growl the music picks up a pace and drives away with a headbanging heaviness. From Belgium they may well be but in essence they sound like they could come from a weather beaten Northern English town a good few decades ago and they project that sort of mood and a certain amount of anger with it. The Englishness actually is weaved in more intrinsically too as it appears the lyrics of the track are indebted to Lord Byron. This is heavy stuff and it builds and batters away solidly with some screeching rasps tempering the torment and striking as particularly impressive. There’s no disputing the track title here and even with the sun shining outside the Darkness within the music is quite profound.
Solid offerings from both artists here and this disc apparently paves the way for them both to embark on their first N American tour. I hope they turn some heads and get suitable appreciation on their journey.
(7/10 Pete Woods)