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Album Reviews : Eye of the Enemy – Weight of Redemption

By on August 24, 2010

2010 has been a strong year so far for young Australian artists and Eye of the Enemy’s debut album Weight of Redemption looks set to see that trend continue with a bold first release that is uncompromising in its aggression and direction. The band boasts an extremely aggressive brand of death-inspired thrash metal characterised by a veritable barrage of speedy guitar riffs and double-kick overlaid by the range of growls, screams and shrieks of vocalist Julian Detar. One of the stronger points to note about the album is that the band demonstrates a clear thrash influence in its riffs but manages to execute them in a way that does not sound like a re-hash of every single identical thrash riff that has been produced in the last (few) decades. Combined with the more death metal styled vocals this gives the album a sound that is, while definitely not what one would call unique, certainly a fresh take on what seemed to have been bled dry. With all said and done in the end this is a strong debut, but like most first releases it does have obvious places where the band can improve in coming releases.

The album’s key strength lies most apparently in its unrelenting aggression from start to finish. The album starts with a full-on assault of furious strings, skins and shredded shrieks and closes 40 minutes later with the same thing, with no rest in between. The album is probably never going to be criticised for its lack of focus or direction, with every track aiming for a full-on speed metal assault to bang your head to, and certainly they succeed in this department. Julz’s vocals are certainly to be commended for they not only contribute strongly to the group’s vicious sound (rather than just provide a voice in the background) but also boast enough variety to keep the listener on their toes. Indeed, to this reviewer at least, the inclusion of clean vocals on several tracks is one of the standout features of the album since it keeps it from slipping into monotony, providing a strong melodic edge to the music that pushes the sound forward rather than being distracting.

Following on from that, despite the band’s clear sense of direction, they manage to demonstrate some alternative sides to their music and it would be an enhancement to see these more pronounced. Some of the tracks feature an effective melodic theme that manages to provide relief from what otherwise would have become a totally unvaried sound and indeed these tracks, most notably “Burn the World”, “Reason for Treason” and “Facade”, are among the strongest on the record for this reason (though the latter actually takes this a bit too far in that direction, seeming slightly out of place, despite being a great song). The album’s guitar solos (shred, of course) are usually strongly executed and are also an entertaining diversion from the constant riffage. The fact that the band is generally able to interweave these different aspects without compromising their direction seems to suggest that they are capable of a more diverse repertoire of tunes that is no less aggressive or focussed.

Indeed, this is really what the album lacks most of all –enough diversity. The album certainly demonstrates some measure of variety, as described above, but ultimately it is not enough. The constant riffage, while done to a high standard to the very end, does get somewhat repetitive and there is only so much of one thing that an album can do before it gets a bit tiring. The moments of melody, be it vocally or from the guitars, are a tantalising glimpse of what the band could achieve if it chose to enhance these aspects a little further and integrate them as well as they have so far demonstrated.

In the end though this is a strong debut- its focussed quality of thrashy aggression is to be commended, as is the strong vocal performance, and the moments of melody, guitar trickery and vocal variety are well enough to pull this album over the line. Improving on the balance of their sounds will see this band soar in future releases. 7/10

Band: Eye of the Enemy
Album: Weight of Redemption
Year: 2010
Genre: Death/Trash Metal
Origin: Melbourne, Australia
Label: Just Say Rock
http://www.myspace.com/eyeoftheenemy

Track Listing

  1. Peace
  2. Weight of Redemption
  3. Genocide
  4. Facade
  5. Reason for Treason
  6. Theocracy
  7. Disarray
  8. 8. Burn the World   <– Reviewer’s Choice
  9. Violent Rapture
  10. The Paradigm of Penance

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Eye of the Enemy forged their way onto the Melbourne metal scene back in 2006. The band slowly progressed through countless performances with the release of their first demo and EP which contain fan favorites Weight of Redemption and Facade. Since then, the band have joined forces with Welkin Entertainment on the live front with the addition of Just Say Rock Records to bring their debut album Weight of Redemption to the masses in 2010.

Eye of the Enemy wear their influences proud on their sleeves. The outweighing mixture of aggression and melodic overtones very reminiscent of Killswitch Engage and Soilwork will surely keep the general demographic of metal fans very happy. Aggression is key and is a major element on the album as it builds from strength to strength. You’ll rarely find yourself losing attention as the album contains some of the most catchy, upbeat and aggressive tracks you’ll hear this year. It’s not all doom and gloom though, as there are many instances where your attention will be shifted from an aggressive state to a more melodic one, albeit very esoteric. Even if your not a massive fan of the heaviest of metal, you’ll still appreciate the somewhat lighter side of the album with is subtle melodic tones.

One major element which stood out for me was the variation and range of vocalist Julian Detar. Not only can he sustain a sombre and melodic tone, but also punch out some very aggressive attacks, many of which reminiscent of Zimmers Hole vocalist Chris Valagao. His performance on tracks Facade and Burn the World are quite memorable and add a unique melodic twist to the albums somewhat saturated aggression. As mentioned before, there is a delicate mixture of diversity, but sadly not enough to sustain a great depth of variation on the album. However, this doesn’t completely ruin the experience of the album as it draws attention to the band’s great musicianship.

Riffs are plentiful and are influenced heavily from both thrash metal and melodic death metal backgrounds. Many band’s seem to butcher this elegant mixture, but Eye of the Enemy have layered down not only a solid performance, but executed it perfectly without the typical wash, rinse and repeat motivation of many bands who choose to “borrow” riffs from many bigger thrash metal counterparts, than actually taking the time to forge their own.  The variation in riffs is solid. Big, fat, chunky riffs, many of which on the shredding side of things pulverize my ears as I crank my headphones up to within bearable limitations of my listening pleasure. Production wise, the album is up there with many AAA releases of today and could easily be mistaken for a flagship release with a perfect mix of levels, drums, guitars and ambiance.

The end result is a promising release from another up and coming Melbourne act with everything to win. I saw these guys live a short while back and was very impressed, more so with how they could easily manipulate their studio sound into a live environment. Not many band’s can do this without the help of Pro-tools or other studio wizardry, but Eye of the Enemy perfected it beautifully. If you love your melodic death metal with hints of thrash, then Weight of Redemption is surely for you. The end result is a relatively strong release for the band’s debut album. My only gripe is the lack of diversity in tracks. Aggression can be a good thing, but too much can make you lose interest very quickly.  7/10

Band: Eye of the Enemy
Album: Weight of Redemption
Year: 2010
Genre: Death/Trash Metal
Origin: Melbourne, Australia
Label: Just Say Rock
http://www.myspace.com/eyeoftheenemy

Track Listing

  1. Peace
  2. Weight of Redemption <- Reviewer’s Choice
  3. Genocide
  4. Facade <- Reviewer’s Choice
  5. Reason for Treason
  6. Theocracy
  7. Disarray
  8. Burn the World   <– Reviewer’s Choice
  9. Violent Rapture
  10. The Paradigm of Penance

Review by Anwar Rizk

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.