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bWall of the Eyeless may not have yet released a full-length album, but that hasn't stopped them from earning an enthusiastic response from the metal community. They released a four song demo in 2011, and it was pretty quickly embraced by reviewers, who saw a ton of potential in the young duo. While I shared the popular optimism for Wall of the Eyeless after hearing the demo, I was admittedly less sold on it than others. The potential was there, sure, but it still felt like the band were in the early stages of developing something great. In that regard, Wimfolsfestta reaffirms many of the impressions I had over two years ago with the debut. The band's musicianship has improved considerably, and they seem to have drawn closer to unlocking the potential I know is buried just under the surface. Though clearly still in the demo stage, Wall of the Eyeless express promising ambition here, drawing in everything from doom to death, black and even traditional heavy metal into their progressive melange. In being so all-inclusive of subgenres however, Wall of the Eyeless lack a clearcut sense of identity and style. Like so many otherwise great bands when they're still in the demo stage, Wall of the Eyeless hints constantly at greatness, but lack the cohesion and distinctiveness to make the ambition work in their favour.
If anything has really noticeably evolved in Wall of the Eyeless' sound, it is their standard of performance. Wimfolsfestta features impressive performances both on the drums and guitars, and even the vocals sound stronger. Regardless which song we're talking about here, the thing that defines Wall of the Eyeless the most at this point is their tendency to hop constantly between genres and ideas. "Flicker", for example, gradually builds with the intentioned focus and gorgeous harmonies of traditional doom metal, jumping into a proggy section before unleashing a slice of death metal. Wall of the Eyeless are probably best described as a progressive death-doom hybrid, but the sound is constantly shifting between sub-genres. This emphasis on dynamic in their songwriting has been done before by other progressive metal acts, and while it does have the potential to work, in Wall of the Eyeless' case it feels like the result of indecisiveness; the band wants to explore a number of styles they like, but haven't yet figured out how to make it flow together.
There are quite a few solid riffs on Wimfolsfestta that get me excited to hear what the band will sound like on a full-length. Although their varied approach still works against them for the most part, the non-metal elements they've drawn in are a welcome addition to the band's sound. Opethian acoustics are handled reasonably well, and the demo's closer "Piercing Mist" picks up what distinctly sounds like post-punk. While I'm not sold on the way Wall of the Eyeless structure their music, the individual ideas are often very good. Although I imagine Wall of the Eyeless capitalizing on their doomy side in the future, they handle each subgenre with reasonable skill, with SL's guitarwork in particular possessing a strong ability to shift styles fluidly. Wimfolsfestta aims for a melancholic atmosphere reminiscent of something Swallow the Sun might conjure up, and while the songwriting lacks the focus to evoke any particularly strong feeling in me, there are points here where it feels like the band are really close to unlocking their sound, and drawing from the same emotional depths as their influences. Often close, but never quite there.
The production is functional, but has neither the crisp clarity of a hi-fi recording, or the organic warmth of analog to really benefit the music (a surprise, really, given that the mastering was guided by the master's touch of the legendary Jens Bogren). Although some of the moments on Wimfolsfestta sound beautifully executed, there's still a sense that Wall of the Eyeless are in the demo stage in terms of recording. The band has experienced numerous gains with regards to composition and performance when compared to Through Emptiness, but I'm left with the nagging feeling that what we're hearing is still a work in progress. When Wall of the Eyeless refine their craft to the point of releasing a full-length, I have high hopes that they'll make something excellent. As I thought with hearing the band's first demo, Wall of the Eyeless are in the primordial stages of greatness; they're not 'there' yet, but the ingredients are prepped and ready to go.
Originally published in Heathen Harvest Periodical: www.heathenharvest.org/wall-of-the-eyeless-wimfolsfestta
In November of 2011, a 21-year-old musician by the name of SL finally found an outlet for his creative passions after little success in his homeland of Russia. After re-locating to Sweden, he met an 18-year-old drummer named Simon and everything just fit. Together they created Wall Of The Eyeless; a melodic death band that incorporates numerous and varied elements and influences. The band painstakingly wrote and rehearsed and released their first demo, Through Emptiness, which was received with overwhelming acclaim. Despite it's gritty production, Through Emptiness is an excellent work and remains highly regarded by those fortunate enough to hear it. On it, the young duo introduces themselves to the world as very competent songwriters and sound musicians throughout four very substantial songs.
In April of 2013, Wall Of The Eyeless tremendously returned with a second four song demo, Wimfolsfestta, finding the band with a much more mature and polished offering. Produced by Marduk's Magnus "Devo" Andersson and mixed by Jens Bogren, Wimfolsfestta, needless to say, transcends the underworld of gritty demos and flourishes as a high-quality work not only in sound, but also effort. This is a bonafide album; a fluid collection of compositions and example of a band with magnitude. Wall Of The Eyeless awe listeners with their wide array of sound, keeping true to a traditional death metal sound, yet with a progressive and intricate approach.
Wimfolsfestta is a very warm record on many levels. The band welcomes the listener with a clean and mellow intro on the album's first song, "Flicker". An epic song in scope and length, "Flicker" is a great pace setter for the rest of the record, as well as summarizes the many facets of Wall Of The Eyeless' overall sound. The band is superior in the songwriting department. The songs themselves are just beautiful but retain an edge, something that can be difficult to execute within this genre. "The Longest Winter" is perhaps the album's most "brutal" sounding song, yet rich with deepness and heart in the same jest.
With compositions that progress between multiple tempos and styles of metal ranging from death to doom to even a progressive rock sound, as heard on the track "Revulsion Fever", the multitudes of their musical capabilities are endless, as well as being flawlessly played. With SL on vocals, guitar and bass, and Simon on drums, the band's talent is overflowing and bursting at the seams. The guitar performance of SL is a real standout. The level at which he performs is unmatched by few, as demonstrated especially throughout his solos and random jazz influenced clean playing, highlighted in "Piercing Mist" among others.
The bulk of the vocal work is comprised of a traditional death style, balanced with clean singing interludes. Both of which are of the highest level and add a certain personality to the work as a whole and complimenting the well-written lyrics themed in loneliness and self-doubt. Each element, whether it be the songs, performance or the production stand out individually as well as compliment each other seamlessly. Wall Of The Eyeless has mastered the art of song structure and flow, with a sense of a heartfelt emotion by a band with unbridled passion and love for the music they create. Wimfolsfestta is a carefully thought out and crafted art; a 30-minute work that takes the listener in and makes to feel at home without ever wanting to leave it's cozy confines.
Among the countless amazing metal bands that have yet to be discovered, Wall Of The Eyeless stand as one of the finest. Following up their previously heralded demo, Through Emptiness, the band has taken their music to the cusp of wider and greater things to come with Wimfolsfestta, a work that solidifies them as an entity that will make major waves throughout the metal world. It is highly recommended that you check out both albums by this bright young band. One will not be able to not appreciate the heart and soul that were put into making these fine works, not to mention being floored by the talent it took to create them. Wall Of The Eyes are a special band with a special brand of uniqueness and talent, as well as being a bright contribution to the Metal community.
***Originally written for and by www.deathportal.net
Receiving Wall of the Eyeless‘ second demo, Wimfolsfestta was a nice surprise for me, having enjoyed their 2011 demo Through Emptiness. The Russian/Swedish collaborative managed to capture the attention of many with the nice balance between brutality and beauty with Through Emptiness, and has certainly left one with rather high expectations on their new release.
Perhaps the first thing that one would notice is the extremely huge jump in the production quality of the music on Wimfolsfestta, with the band abandoning the raw and unpolished sound that was on Through Emptiness, and this is definitely a right step forward for the band’s musical stylistics. Each of the instruments ring out clearly, from the drums of Simon to the clean guitars and the soaring lead tone of SL. Having Jens Borgen at the production seat has certainly paid off for the band, allowing for the music of Wall of the Eyeless to really shine.
It might not be entirely surprising then that the band’s sound has a marked increase in its Swedish leanings, with the sound and the entire style of the music on Wimfolsfestta being rathe reminiscent to bands such as October Tide‘s recent release with the fusion of brutal, crushing death metal riffs and the emotional lead guitar lines and the melancholic and somewhat depressive atmosphere that lingers. There are even moments where one is reminded of the gothic/doom style of bands such as Draconian, and songs like Revulsion Fever giving a slight post-metal feel (think Alcest, but slightly heavier), with the beautiful soundscape that Wall of the Eyeless has created on this demo.
One other thing that one would notice is the marked maturity in the songwriting, with each of the tracks being much more coherent compared to the slightly aimless feel that Through Emptiness gave to listeners. The songs are much more tighter than older tracks, and this is not only in the way they are executed by SL and Simon, but also in the nice flow of the entire album, seamlessly alternating between aggressive death metal segments and more soothing and calming ones. This is especially evident on the longer tracks of the album, Flicker and Piercing Mist. Such transitions also allow for SL to display his vocal abilities.
For a demo, Wimfolsfestta has been masterfully crafted, and one can easily hear the amount of effort that the band has put into every aspects of this album. It leaves one to wonder what more to expect from Wall of the Eyeless.