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This is my fifth review and for the first time it is for a release that’s not in my Bandcamp library. Yet. It may well end up joining the rest of Eyemouth’s discography but as this release is quite new as I type this, I have yet to listen to it. In fact, I had no idea it was even out. It has six songs and a running time of under 30 minutes, so I don’t know whether it’s meant to be an album or an EP. Is that even important? Send me a postcard with your thoughts on the subject.
A few words on Eyemouth. They are a Swedish duo consisting of Marcus Lilja and Joakim Åberg who operate out of Gothenburg, that 1990’s hotbed of melodeath and probably other things as well. I have visited Sweden many, many times but for whatever reason always bypassed Göteborg – as we Finns call it – and headed to Malmö, usually on my way to Denmark. “How very interesting”, you say, “but what has this got to do with music?” Absolutely nothing. Time for another paragraph.
Eclipse is the third part in a trilogy. It is preceded by Spiral, released in May 2019 and Cut, released in May 2020. Cut was my introduction to Eyemouth…no, I tell a lie. My introduction was the song The Real Plot on Plike’s fantastic album Soteria. Eyemouth are featured on said song and you should do yourself a favour and listen to it because it is also fantastic.
Adjectives, aren’t they great? No need to have any original ideas, just stick a bunch of adjectives one after the other and you can be a reviewer as well!
This is going to be a weird one.
So yes, Cut was the first proper Eyemouth release I ever heard. I liked it immensely and subsequently played it on my radio show on SLE and hopefully sang its praises, too. Eyemouth have released quite a lot of music between 2015 and 2021 so I am not going to list every single release here. Instead, I suggest you check out their Bandcamp page and listen for yourself.
On to the review. Finally. As always, all links point to Bandcamp.
Hmm, this song must be an intro of some sort since it’s under two minutes. So far, so gloomy. Liking the dark, moody sound and satanic church bells tolling topped off by some suitably demonic incantation.
And it’s straight into the first song proper. What the hell? The organ sound is right out of school assembly circa 1985. Thankfully the vocals bear no resemblance to the teachers’ out of tune wailing. Should I read the lyrics? Maybe I should. I think there’s a story unfolding here and I’m missing out by only focusing on the music. I’m not very lyrics oriented either as a fan or a songwriter. I will say this song was a curveball, nothing at all like what I expected Eyemouth to sound like. It may be because I’m not as familiar with their music as I claim to be. It’s very easy to copy paste links to albums but have I actually listened to all of them? Be that as it may, the vocal sound is instantly familiar, the delivery very confident and if the song isn’t stylistically my cup of tea, it is still very good. Rapture is a misleading title for me, now that I think of it, as it reminds me of Morbid Angel’s classic song. Death metal this is not. And it turns out the organ is a genuine pipe organ and was recorded the Christinae Church in Alingsås. It pays to read the liner notes, you can sound really clever.
The production is stellar, there’s a lot of depth to it. I like this song, it’s darker and weirder than Rapture. There are some eastern sounding keyboard flourishes underlining the vocal melodies here and there. The chord structure is unusual, and I really, really like it. I remind you that I am listening to the song for the first time as I type this. I hear echoes of Song of Faith and Devotion -era Depeche Mode, the singer’s vocal phrasing reminded me of Tobias Forge and the song occasionally travels down paths similar to Ghost at their best, but I have to emphasize that Eyemouth only sound like themselves. It’s just the music nerd in me who’s always looking for a touch of something familiar in the soundscape.
This song has a long intro, the vocals enter only at around the two-and-a-half-minute mark. This is courageous song writing, letting the whole piece rest on the same chord change, more or less, no real beat, just a wash of sound and a beautiful vocal performance on top.
I keep reading the title as “A Silent Backlash”. Maybe I’ll use that myself? Anyway, this is a waltz, but you’re not going to want to dance to this at your wedding. Or maybe you are, it’s certainly a gorgeous enough tune to lurch drunkenly along to and crash into the buffet table. Accordion too! This is nice. I’m not a big fan of folky stuff, especially of the Finnish metal kind, but rest assured this has nothing to do with the likes of Korpiklaani or whoever. It occurs to me that I might have to listen to the entire trilogy and maybe review the other parts as well.
Last song, seven minutes to go. There’s no doubt Eyemouth are doing exactly what they want to do. This is totally unapologetic, very confident music. So much so that it allows one to say that it’s not necessarily my cup of akvavit. This music is incredibly good, objectively speaking, standing head and shoulders above the vast majority of mediocre fare pumped out by a million artists every single day. It’s dark, inventive and ticks all the right boxes except the one marked “X Factor” or whatever you want to call it. The thing that hooks you and you’re not even sure what it is.
I promised earlier to never again give a numerical value to a release so I’m not giving this the 3,5 stars out of 5 it deserves…Well, that went well.