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Tyrant Eyes hasn’t put out an album since 2003′s The Darkest Hour, an album that I own and have enjoyed occasionally despite its flaws. When I saw that Pure Steel was to be releasing the band’s new album, I felt a twinge of nostalgia, along with my usual desire to see what “that old band is up to nowadays.” Tyrant Eyes has been known, up to this point, for a mid-tempo heavy/power metal with an older German vibe and occasional touches of thrash. But after this long of a wait, I was correct in assuming that I’d be in for a completely different listening experience after seeing the line “refuses to fit into the “usual style boxes.”” in the press release.
First up, I don’t know what it is with Pure Steel Records, but it seems like a lot of the bands on their label that I take to listening to have rather boring album covers, and Tyrant Eyes has reverted to a big stylized “TE” on the cover with some graphical effects. Secondly, what’s with the completely unnecessary screams opening the first track? It was awful when Sinergy did it with “Suicide By My Side”, and it’s just as tasteless and stupid now. After getting over the initial wave of nausea, I found myself decidedly underwhelmed by opener “Another Ray Of Light”, a slow-paced oddity of an introduction to an album that is fraught with inconsistencies and disappointments. In some ways, this reminds me of Mercenary’s new release Metamorphosis (which, perhaps uncoincidentally, also sucks).
Apparently the band decided to produce this album all on their own, and I don’t think that this made a difference one way or another, as the production is respectable enough. No, the primary trouble I have with The Sound Of Persistence (Which, by the way, hardly seems like an appropriate title for a band betraying their roots and previous sound) is the vocals. So far as I can tell, René Pedersen is the one and only vocalist for the band, so he must sing over himself repeatedly through the course of the album. There are three general vocal sounds on The Sound Of Persistence: Pedersen’s throaty clean vocals, which are unremarkable but acceptable, a high pitched clean vocal that strains the ears somewhat, especially in conjunction with the standard cleans (it rarely, if ever appears without them), and finally the frequent harsh grunts and screams that are the hallmark of metalcore. While this is only passingly similar to metalcore in styling, the vocals definitely push it partially into that realm, while the rest of the music generally plods along at a slow to moderate tempo, generally staying within the realm of standard (but mostly boring) heavy metal.
This isn’t entirely the case, there are occasional fun guitar sections, but they are always over too soon, and any catchy choruses are inevitably ruined by the combination of the wretching high vocals and rumbling inept growls. Somewhere in there is a good metal song, but the band’s new agenda has turned it into glorified slop. Aside from a few interesting and passably catchy sections (“Green Tiny Monsters” is a fun song, happily devoid of awful vocals), this album is unfortunately uninspired, poorly conceived (a song titled “Physically Alive?”), and absolutely ruined by some of the poorest vocals (and easily the worst combination of vocals) that I’ve heard yet this year. It seems that Tyrant Eyes is something of a self-grounded ship that has scuttled its creativity somewhere between 2003 and the present. I can’t in good faith recommend this to anyone, and I imagine that a fair few of the band’s old fans will be put off by it.
Originally written for Black Wind Metal (blackwindmetal.com)