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Vacant Eyes - A Somber Preclusion of Being Award winner

Vacant Eyes
A Somber Preclusion of Being
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 17 July 2020, 8:04 AM

Longing to discover what lies beyond, through the pain, misery, and beauty that are universal to human existence. It is eventually essential to face one's own thoughts and emotions directly. VACANT EYES, with their forthcoming studio album, “A Somber Preclusion of Being,” aim to be a catalyst to explore our most sorrowful moments and contemplate our deepest and most personal questions. The album contains six lengthy tracks.

“A Colorless Entity” leads off the album; a near 17-minute beast. Let that sink in…17 minutes long. The opening riff is both weighted and lumbering. Doleful lead guitars come in over top, painting a picture of a desolate wasteland and endless cold, grey skies. Charming piano notes and guttural vocals join the charge. Dual guitar harmonies also join in…this album is full of surprises so far. Galloping drums roll in. Some light piano passages really put a dark spell on you, and it culminates in a veritable storm of instrumentation.

“A Timeless Vault” is just under nine minutes in length. Oppressive guitars lead the charge here. Piano is juxtaposed with vile vocals, providing elements of both hope and despair. As the drums pick up, the sound turns ominous…you feel utterly defeated here, like all hope has gone for the future, and you are all alone. A solitary guitar provides lead notes that lift high into the sky. The way they combine these elements reminds me of the mighty INSOMNIUM, but this music is mark darker.

“Induced Desolation” is close to the ten-minute mark, opening with lumbering guitars whose notes are held for increased desolation, and low and slow guttural vocals. As the lead guitars climb a bit, you can see your way out, but as you ascend, the crevice just keeps getting deeper and deeper. The sheer darkness in this song is hard to get around. Desolate doesn’t begin to describe the feelings of utter despair brought out in this song.

“Apparitions of Existence” opens with creepy guitar notes and some background ambiance that reminds me of cold, dark places that I would not dare to enter. It turns nefarious when the vocals come in, with the drums picking up a bit as well. This song is harrowing in it delivery of Doom. Some of those creepy piano notes mix in with guitar towards the half-way mark, with lead guitar notes pounding the Doom into your soul. “An Essence of Anguish” opens with a slow groove, and once again piano notes mix in with the deep Death vocals. The sound drops to just lead guitar notes early on, with drums echoing the sentiment. It goes even deeper and darker, and finishes on a melodic tone.

“Into an Empty Dream” is a 15-minute closer. It opens with a very lumbering and slow pace, with Death Metal guttural vocals and long, held guitar notes. Some lead guitar notes mix in around the three-minute mark, adding a layer of eeriness to the song. The clean vocals around the nine-minute mark give the song extra dimension. It finishes with the most hopeless feeling you could ever feel, as you draw your last breath on earth and face the afterlife. Overall, this album was one of the most dreadful I have heard in the genre in some time. The absolute horror of it all was almost too much to take. But, the mix of piano and melodic guitars is a new take on the genre. They provide notes of hope, in an otherwise completely dejected listening experience. Don’t play this album if you are already in a bad mood…

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. A Colorless Entity
2. A Timeless Vault
3. Induced Desolation
4. Apparitions of Existence
5. An Essence of Anguish
6. Into an Empty Dream
Josh Moran – Guitars, Vocals, Cello
Alex Smith – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Grim Riley – Bass
Chris Kudukey – Drums
Mark Richardson – Keyboards
Record Label: Independent


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