Eyeless In Gaza – Act I: The Protagonist (2020)

Eyeless in Gaza are a doom/death act and it’s probably best to describe them with a song by song as there are only four here.

The first track here is called “The Protagonist” and it is quite lengthy. I would even go to say that it is EP length. The harsh vocals aren’t perfect, but the clean vocals and guitar melodies on the album both deliver in spades. I would have just hired a deep growler, rather than sounding like angry Gollum. The synth section I found to be great as well, rather unexpected. Other than that, the piece features a lot of acoustic melody which gives it a worldly feel.

“Maelstrom” comes next, following up on the acoustics as clean vocal harmonies once again win the day. The most interesting part of this track however, is when it goes ambient. The harsh vocals sound a bit better when the song unexpectedly bursts into a much heavier section, replete with some memorable leads as well. Ah, there’s a deep voiced growler in the band right there. Save your vocals man, you are killing your throat and I can hear it. Let that guy do the growling – his voice sounds like a mineshaft and it goes deep down. The frontman continues his angry Gollum approach, (which is I guess an attempt at black metal, because I’m getting those vibes) as the song continues into a gloomy atmosphere later peppered with acoustics and pounding drums, which are a bit sparingly used here. After that, the whole thing goes into a sort of dreamy, acoustic ambient. It sounds kind of like fairyland.

“Mournful Unconcern” is an uncomfortable mix of doom and synth atmospheres, backed with acoustics and drumming that later reaches into full-on terror. The song sounded rather mysterious in the beginning, but now it’s kind of like the moment where the supernatural killer creature was discovered in Death Come True and you’re grabbing your chest as the thing just comes through the door when you expected it to be a police officer. Yeah, it’s that kind of what the fuck moment that really takes this song from mystery into terror and then finally what seems like an acceptance of death. “Madrigal” is just an acoustic piece to end the listen and I could honestly take it or leave it. It’s like the end credits of a movie in that respect.

Ultimately, while Act I: The Protagonist is not my favorite doom/death record, I do have to respect the large amount of work that has gone into the structure of it all. The disc is filled with twists and turns, where heavy death metal-influenced bouts come out of nowhere and sometimes without expectation the whole album goes right into synths. It is not necessarily a heavy record, though it is far from calm in certain moments. I think you’ll find a lot to look forward to in this mysterious release, where nothing is quite what it seems. You know, except for “Madrigal” which kind of killed the vibe, but that is as I noted, a form of end credits.

7/10

Purchase:

https://solitudeproductions.bandcamp.com/album/act-i-the-protagonist

7.0

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