Eye Of Solitude – Slaves To Solitude

Eye Of Solitude have been the undisputed protagonists of funeral death doom in this decade, not only for their prolificacy, unusual for those who try their hand at the genre (just think of the biblical time that elapsed between one work and another for seminal bands like Mournful Congregation or Skepticism, or how long we’ve been waiting for new works by Evoken, Esoteric or Worship), but above all for the quality that unites every single release, starting from the five full lengths to the various split albums and ep. Slaves To Solitude comes two years after Cenotaph, which represented a very delicate moment for Eye Of Solitude, because it came after Canto III, the masterpiece that made their potential literally explode, and the wonderful ep Dear Insanity; on that occasion Daniel Neagoe, with a renewed band compared to the one that, like Charon, ferried us into the harsh and desperate sounds of Dante’s Inferno, opted for a more rarefied sound, which led back in part to what the Romanian musician did with his other splendid project Clouds, without losing the peculiar traits of a sound that to the most experienced users reveals all its uniqueness. Slaves To Solitude, right from Daniel’s declarations of intent, is placed halfway between the two previous works, recovering the dramatic sense of Canto III thanks to the arrangements, but retaining the more controlled pace of Cenotaph: the result is another great album that offers more than fifty minutes of music oscillating between funeral and melodic death doom, always wrapped in an aura between tragic and majestic, that the unparalleled growl of the vocalist, every time he rises to the proscenium, plunges into a leaden darkness. Eye Of Solitude was born in 2010 as Neagoe’s solo project but, after the debut The Ghost, from Sui Caedere onwards they became a full band, even in recording: in Slaves To Solitude, instead, the leader is accompanied only by his compatriot Xander, a musician we know for his militancy in the excellent Descend Into Despair, as well as in Deos and now also in Clouds, in the role of rhythm guitarist during live performances. This obviously does not detract from the success of the album, not even scratching the qualitative excellence associated with every Eye Of Solitude release: Slaves To Solitude, whose magnificent artwork is by Gogo Melone, begins with a song like The Blind Earth that, after a long introduction made of whispered voices, explodes in the usual dramatic combination of growl and the atmosphere of a legend woven by an admirable keyboard background. And this is, after all, the trademark of the album, made of suspensions punctuated by piano passages (in this at least there is also a correspondence with Clouds at the compositional level) to then explode in that dramatic paroxysm that is the peculiar element of Eye Of Solitude, able to express in a unique way the psychic and moral devastation that assails the thinking man when he realizes his insignificance in front of the immensity of space and time, and the sense of transience that comes with it. Every release of this prolific musician can never be trivial, because his compositional impulse is not the result of a calligraphic mannerism but draws sap from a superior sensitivity, and if the deviations may appear minimal, if you take a superficial look at the various releases, this is essentially due to the nature of the sound offered and its purpose. Of the five tracks, if I were forced to choose one, I’d go for The Cold Grip Of Time, but I’d be doing a disservice to every note of another magnificent work: Canto III will probably remain an unparalleled masterpiece in this decade, not only for Eye Of Solitude, but each release of Daniel Neagoe’s creature is always an unmissable appointment for anyone who wants to find an ideal outlet for the anguish and sadness that are faithful companions of our existence, even if we always try to disguise their presence by relegating them to a corner of our mind.

2018 – Independent