Eyes of Fire

Ashes to Embers

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Eyes of Fire's debut full-length, Ashes to Embers, is full of bluster: often thundering and tribal, and at times melodic and hypnotic, it ambitiously tries to connect the dots between Pink Floyd spaciness (see also: Anathema) and the grit of apocalyptic hardcore heroes Neurosis. But while the band -- formed by two former members of Mindrot -- lands its share of solid blows with its dynamic juxtaposition of melody and furious, churning rhythms, it's a disappointment vocally and lyrically. Case in point: ill-chosen leadoff track "The End Result of Falling...," a dreary, meandering slog composed of clean-ringing guitar chords and morose whining, it builds to an acceptably layered and dense climax, but is ultimately much ado about nothing -- read the lyric sheet, and it consists of bland, indulgent, self-flagellating diary entries ("I can't feel these arms around me, I can hear your voice inside me"). The rest of Ashes to Embers is more pleasing from an instrumental perspective, rumbling and grumbling like a pack of irritated elephants, playing with the loud-soft dynamic by injecting melody amongst the din, although the generic growls 'n' howls are more effective than the often off-key clean warbles. Bottom line, bands such as Neurosis and Isis more convincingly pull off this type of genre transcendence, and with the lyrical heft to justify all the noise; although there's no debating the band's passion and enthusiasm, such inevitable comparisons leave Eyes of Fire's mixed-bag output a few creative lengths behind.

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