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Difficult to define, hard not to like - 73%

Napero, March 4th, 2010

Rusty Eye seems to have a fair amount of reviews on the Metal Archives, and a probably explanation for that is the polite and persuasive way they recruit people to write those reviews by sending out promo copies with more accuracy than saturation; the low-budget approach is a very effective way of getting exposure, and probably doesn't suit the lazier bands. However, in Rusty Eye's case, the DIY mentality is reflected in the band's music, and the chosen mode of promotion is perhaps a part of a well-considered package. It's easy to get the impression that this band is not aiming for superstardom, but rather seeking a niche between various genres on a much smaller scale.

While the label of "progressive metal" is perhaps not that far away from the stuff found on Possessor, if the definition of progressive is taken from the books on 70s progressive rock and applied on Rusty Eye's rocking, alternative and perhaps even mildly punkish metal, it certainly conveys the wrong idea about the music to the generation that has grown up thinking "progressive" means the same as "more or less a carbon copy of Dream Theater". No, the stuff here has a garage-y sound, a probably intentional DYI-ish production, and plenty of variance between the songs. And certain choices a band centered purely on being "metal" would never make, under any circumstances.

The songwriting has an almost annoyingly wide range, from rather pure metal tracks with sort of lackluster guitar sound, to songs with softish clean female vocals more to be expected on an album of an indie rock band, to almost textbook rock tracks, to sludge-drenched coarse grunting bolted onto a background that could have been assembled from the strips of taped left on the studio floor after recording sessions by a soft metal band and a semi-metallic punk band. And that is where the progression comes into play here: the band does not follow a pre-defined format, and frolicks all around the musical scenery, avoiding all but the widest and most liberal musical categorizations. The chosen guitar sounds are more from garage rock than from a rich prog metal band's equipment-centered finesse, but some of the riffs are definitely metal in their essence, while the drumming takes a wholly different and less aggressive approach. In short Rusty Eye makes music that mixes genres and defies their very essence, but adopts stylings from each one, more that actual musical formulas. Possessor contains music that is difficult to define, and manages to hop genres in its leisure. And still the construction holds together and sounds like itself throughout its length.

If the music is difficult to define, it also manages to be damn hard not to like. The unrestrained, unapologizing and unpolished attitude of the band is endearing, and even if some individual tracks sound irritating when they jump or sneak out of the speakers, they do not annoy in the way a sticky pop song does. No, they do not come back to haunt the listener in the wee hours, but leave shroudlike memories that somehow manage to associate that very irritation with an unexplained desire to hear it all again. And upon the new spin, the album once again both irritates and leaves a good taste in the mouth, like a cup of strong coffee with a chocolate bar with just a little bit too much chili flakes in it.

Punkish, endearing, kinda metallic, sort of not metal, alternative and indie, hopping fences between genres like a bunny on stimulants, sludgy, unrefined and unpolished, perhaps even with a girl-next-door attraction, and somehow home-made in a good way; all more or less abstract adjectives, but the best descriptions a confused mind can come up with. This music has the potential for extraordinary gigs on very small venues in front of audiences with no specific expectations, and it's not a far-fetched idea to assume that that might well have been the intention.

Possessor is an album almost impossible to define, very hard not to like, and definitely a piece that might find a more or less permanent slot in the glove compartment of the car, for occasional spins on the way to work. Because just as the tongue tends to unconsciously wander back to probe an infected tooth, the subconscious mind will sooner or later remind of the existence of this album. Not excellent, but certainly enjoyable and an original take on... on... ...this kind of music.

Dirty Psychedelic Metal - 80%

Shadoeking, March 2nd, 2010

Rusty Eye is a band that originally formed in Mexico City, Mexico in 1995 and later relocated to sunny Hollywood, CA. I was recently contacted by bassist and singer Mr. Rust to introduce me to his band. It's just the kind of DIY strategy that the band has been utilizing to get themselves notice over the last few years. Sometimes, in the underground metal scene, that's the only way to accomplish things. Well, I have been won over. This album, the band's fourth, is surprisingly original and creative. Why have I not heard this band before?

The band is very interested in horror movies and this influence shines through like a beacon. The entire atmosphere of the album gives off a 1960's or 1970's psychedelic horror movie vibe. Everything about it feels dingy and unclean. Even the packaging of the album gives off that feel, with the well-done cover art and the inside artwork. The cover is colorful and sinister and chaotic, all at once. The CD itself is made to look like a vinyl record. Another nice touch.

The vocals are provided by the aforementioned Mr. Rust as well as drummer Miss Randall. Mr. Rust has a dirty, gravelly-sounding voice, which adds to the atmospheric tension of the overall sound. His extreme vocals could use a little work. They are not bad, just not as impressive as his full-throated snarls. His clean vocals on "The Serial Kind" sound like a demented Jim Morrison. Miss Randall provides backing vocals early in the album and as it progresses, she takes more and more of a lead vocal role. Miss Randall's vocals are typically delivered in femme fatale-esque sultry voice beckoning unwary men into danger.

Musically, it's not easy to pigeonhole Rusty Eye. Any given song may be different and a wide variety of musical styles are present on the album. The band seems to be rooted in a combination of thrash metal, progressive metal, and psychedelic rock. But again, this may be completely different from one song to the next.

The album opens up with an instrumental "At the House by the Cemetary" which builds into the uptempo "11.02 Day of the Dead" about the Mexican holiday. "Mondo Cane"'s opening riff sounds lifted from a garage band, but the song is fast and raw once it gets going. The pace is kept up until "The Serial Kind" which slows things down quite a bit and features Miss Randall on lead vocals. After that, the thrash attack comes crashing back through for a few more tracks before slowing down on the last two tracks.

As for the instrumentation, Rusty Eye features three very talented musicians. Miss Randall is an incredible drumming talent. Her fills and cadences capture the listener's attention and do not let go. Baron Murtland is a very talented guitarist and creates much of the atmosphere and soundscapes with his take on psychedelia-inspired metal. His solos sound as if they would be at home in any stoner doom metal band. Mr. Rust's bass talents are also on full display here as it rumbles along shaking the ground beneath.

The only disappointment I have with the album is its tendency to lose steam near the end. The songs are not as well-constructed after "Jerusalem Cricket Souffle" and lose the listener's attention a little bit. A strong album closer would have been a good way to end this album on a high point, but instead we have "Rituales de Sangre" which is more of a soundtrack to an old horror movie during a drug-induced ritual. It then descends into only an occasional ding. If the last song had been more of a barnburner, it may have awakened the listener, bringing them back more and more. That being said, the album as a whole is a quality listening experience.

This is a strong album by a band devoted to its craft and to making a name for themselves. The band certainly has a strong work ethic and a fierce desire to succeed. If the band keeps putting out albums like this one, they should be able to be successful. This is an overall very good album. It's varied and chaotic, but with enough of a common thread running through it so as not to completely lose any listeners. The whole thing feels dirty and grungy, but it's a good feeling.

Rusty Eye - Possessor - 70%

ThrashManiacAYD, February 2nd, 2010

Continuing the progression the band have demonstrated since their debut, "Possessor" sees Rusty Eye further their sound, performance and recording to at last start to realise some of the song-writing potential that has been obscured by dodgy production on previous recordings. The first thing that strikes me when playing "Possessor" is that while the recording still bears a garage-y feel, again most notable in the drums of Miss Randall, this time it actually sounds like the band have intended for it to be this way rather than being merely stuck with what they could do technically (and probably financially), and of course this benefits the album greatly. Rusty Eye have here gone from a band merely stuck with a garage recording to one embracing that stripped down sound bands such as White Stripes and The Strokes have made a career of.

Mr. Rust's bass levels are a prominent plus point across songs like "Those Who Flee From The Sun" which boasts a relaxed Queens of the Stone Age feel to it and the admirably good yet strangely monickered instrumental "Jerusalem Cricket Soufflé" where he attempts to come over all Steve Harris on yo' asses. I would not yet say these songs represent Rusty Eye at their best as room for improvement still exists but it surely as hell beats the best out of "Rust n' Roll" and "Stendhal Syndrome". In fact even the female vocals, which have been one of my bugbears across those two albums, finally start to actually make a positive impact on proceedings. I'll admit that I'm still not really a fan of Miss. Randall's Cristina Scabbia-like voice, believing it too colourless to enable the band to make waves on a wider scale, but at least in songs like "The Entity (Ghostly Lust)" it works decently alongside the riffs and general tempo, and in "A Poisoned Letter" it compliments the nice Deceased groove I'm getting from Mr. Rust's ever-increasing vocal snarl.

With "Possessor" I start to see where the 'progressive metal' tag the band have acquired on Metal Archives comes from. It's not so much for overly-complex song compositions ala Dream Theater or Symphony X, but in both some of the more instrumental touches and the variety of styles deployed across "Possessor" which fit together nicely despite widely varying influences gleaned from each. Its great to see that across these three albums Rusty Eye have improved organically to a point where if you like sounds that hover across the rock/metal border with an unquenchable edge to do things differently I would not hesitate in recommending you "Possessor". There does still lay some weaknesses in their sound but at heart of it Rusty Eye have penned some progressively good tunes and that alone shows how they're heading in the right direction.

Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net

The Serial Kind - 72%

Muloc7253, December 2nd, 2009

Rusty Eye have come a long way since their garage rock days. I first heard the album Rust N' Roll, which was barely metal at all but more of a garage/punk/grunge/alternative hybrid. I would have passed them off as a decent but forgettable rock and roll band if I weren't urged by friends to give their newer works a shot and indeed they were right - I check out the song Mr. Cannibal on youtube and it was a massive step up from the rather confused sounding debut. They'd added a more clean, metallic influenced with well-defined riffing, but they'd also found salvation in vocalist/drummer extraordinaire Miss Randall, which improved their sound tenfold.

Well I planned to get hold of a copy of Stendhal Syndrome, but since Possessor was just around the corner I decided to hold on and wait a little. And this does sound exactly as I expected, Rusty Eye are still firmly rooted in rock music but with a lot of added Maidenisms, more epic riffs, double the amount of notes that should exist in a rock riff and such. Possesser is much better than Rust N' Roll too (although there's nothing as great as Mr. Cannibal on here) but Miss Randall's voice is a definite plus and the increase in melodic leads is definitely welcomed by me. Mr. Rust still does vocals which I can't say I approve of, not much of a fan of his voice (although it's not as bad as on Rust N' Roll - an album with great hooks and terrible vocals), whether he's growling or yelling or whatever, his vocals are rather unneccesary.

The musicianship is great though, and the hooks are really good - 'The Serial Kind' and 'Mondo Cane' are very catchy, the latter sounding like a modern alternative rock band spitting out Cradle of Filth and Metallica riffs. Yes, as you can tell this is a pretty damn versatile album and should probably be a lot more popular than it is.

A progressive rebirth of metal necromancy. - 97%

hells_unicorn, August 21st, 2009

Originality is the rarest of all commodities in today’s world of music. Heavy metal affords a bit more freedom to experiment than other styles, but finding something genuinely fresh and inviting is still largely a challenging task within this side stream art form. When looking for it, the first place recommended is that truly unrestrained lot of nonconformists known affectionately as the underground, where disturbing yet beautiful things await. Apply to this those most subterranean images of reanimated corpses, mortuaries, graveyards bound in mist and moonlight, and a vampire/Medusa hybrid with centipedes where the snakes should be, casting dark spells with pagan/demonic charms, and you have the face of Rusty Eye’s “Possessor”.

Naturally the first reaction to such imagery is one of expectation. Most would assume it to be the imagery common to either a modern brutal death metal band with crazed atonal riffing and unintelligible guttural vocalizations. Others with a more archaic understanding of the genre might look back to the most extreme elements of the 80s thrash metal scene, if not further still to the beginnings of said style within the blackened bowls of the most twisted outfits of the NWOBHM and the corresponding darker acts of mainland and northern Europe. But the reality is something a lot more nuanced, something that takes into account all possibilities, both old and new, and fuses them together into a semi-extreme, ruthlessly progressive, yet still somehow consonant and accessible whole.

While most carrying the label of progressive metal tend to focus on one or two elements such as involved song structures or hybrid of styles, and exaggerating them to the point of hitting new territory, Rusty Eye takes little pieces of everything, almost like a jigsaw puzzle of putrid flesh, and puts together a truly unique and auspicious work of necromancy. Some technical Thrash riffing here, a few odd changes or unexpected sections there, a pinch of fancy bass work rivaling both Steve Harris and Geddy Lee, a touch of older hard and punk rock influences, a seasoning of keyboard ambiences and Neo-classical tonality, and the occasional smatterings of both black and death metal vocalizations all mix together into a mystic witches brew of sounds.

Perhaps it is fate that the most proficient of progressive bands, be they rock or metal in persuasion, come in groups of three. Throughout each of these 13 solid mixes of metallic beauty each member provides an invaluable part to the whole, often more than one part actually. Mr. Rust puts forth a highly active bass performance while taking time to put form several classic dirty vocal styles, including a gravely punk/thrash shout, a set of guttural barks that invoke both David Vincent and Chuck Schuldiner, and some more blackened screams coming closer to an Attila or a Nocturno Culto sound. Baron Murtland is the most restrained of the 3, but his riff work and lead breaks are masterfully accomplished and intricate. Miss Randall, who held her own in a speed playing contest with several proficient male drummers, plays the role of multi-instrumentalist by providing some keyboards in addition to her consonant yet attitude driven rock vocals and brutal rhythmic patterns.

While “Stendhal Syndrome” dished out a shorter and more compact version of what this band is capable of, “Possessor” brings to full fruition the potential locked within. Far from being a 50 minute fit of technical showboating, what emerges are a series of very catchy works that can be both sung along to and admired for their sheer abstractness. “Somnambulist Possession” and “A Poisoned Letter” are classic examples of this, featuring beautifully crafted chorus melodies delivered in a dark angelic fashion by Miss Randall, with Mr. Rush chiming in with his varying extreme metal vocal characters. “Day Of The Dead” and “Mondo Cane” take more of a thrash metal approach riff wise, but the underlying melodic quality endures. There is an underlying Iron Maiden, Venom and otherwise general NWOBHM vibe to most of these songs, but the presentation is much more involved and occasionally brings in influences from early 80s Rush. The most notable example of this can be found on “Jerusalem Cricket Souffle”, which merges elements of Maiden’s “Transylvania”, Sabbath’s “Rat Salad” and Rush’s “YYZ”.

For anyone who wants more than just another homage to one of the elder greats in Metal’s history, “Possessor” is definitely a place to start looking. It might be a bit premature given the highly anticipated releases up and coming from 2009 out of Immortal and Megadeth, but I can pretty comfortably say that this is one of the best albums to come out this year. It lives in a world all its own, one where the most horrific visual depictions walk side by side with an enticing collection of sounds. I was fortunate enough to get the limited edition release with the vinyl-like CD design, which is a fitting one given the commonalities this shares with the tenaciously nonconformist metal works of the early to mid 80s. Break out the spell books and get yourself to the local cemetery, the magic of metal is back.

Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on August 21, 2009.