Vacant Eyes – A Somber Preclusion Of Being (2020)

You know those doom albums where the band is almost devoid of melody and the experience becomes so bland and monotonous that even listening to the disc is torture? Well, thankfully Vacant Eyes are not that kind of band.

The first thing I noticed from the disc were in fact it’s strong lead riffs, melodies and solo bits. Sure, there are some deep-seated moments of vocal gravel and acoustics as you might expect, but there’s more to it than that. You’ve got to guide the listener along somehow when it comes to these kinds of experiences, whether that be with a melody or a vocal and once again, the melodies are king here. The record is quite dark and gloomy, but not without a smattering of piano and some other attempts to slightly liven up which can sound quite dead in some areas. However, we expect that, as when you put a creepy, dark forest on the cover of your album, it should in some way match the album cover.

The songs are quite lengthy as you may also expect from doom, but there’s enough meat here to keep the listener hooked as I mentioned. “Apparitions Of Existence” is certainly one of the more standout tracks, yet again I’ll have to mention the potent lead-riffing on the album opener, “A Colorless Eternity.” Just because you’re writing a bleak and rather forlorn doom album doesn’t mean that you can’t utilize captivating melodies and even some shreddy guitar solos. These work when done right and Vacant Eyes show that they can exist within the musical language of doom metal.

After all, when you look at early Swallow The Sun, in particular “The Mourning Never Came” you’ll notice that the album is loaded with strong, potent melodies that carry the listener on a journey and prove why the band has made it as far in this industry as they have. There’s something about quality to be said there and Vacant Eyes capture that quality. If you’re going to write doom, don’t write an album that is going to put me to sleep. I’m not looking for musical melatonin and I can’t come on your journey if it is a fight to keep my eyes open.

A Somber Preclusion Of Being does exactly the opposite of this, and even though it can be lulling at times, it doesn’t stay within that territory. More doom acts should look to Vacant Eyes for inspiration, or they should look at including packaged coffee grounds with physical copies of their album. Maybe someone can get a deal with Deathwish coffee.

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