Band: Eyeless in Gaza
Album: Act I: The Protagonist
Genre: Epic funeral doom, Black doom metal, Dark ambient el.
1. The Protagonist (20:24)
2. Maelstrom (14:01)
3. Mournful Unconcern (7:30)
4. Madrigal (2:11)
Total time: 44:04
Release date: May 29, 2020
Label Solitude Productions
Promo: Jeremy Lewis
Eyeless in Gaza is a one-man Armenian project created by multi-instrumentalist Franklin Avetisyan with the goal of creating a gloomy funerary atmosphere in music. The debut work combines the various elements bringing a fresh look to the doom genre. Here we can hear symphonic and ambient elements, acoustic/classic guitar passages. Academic choral chants are superimposed on the main layer of the epic funeral doom, black doom. A variety of vocals also contributes to the monumental canvas.
The tragic and dreamy monologue about the bitter and deepest feeling of regret and humility inside us opens with the longest composition “The Protagonist”. There are more than 20 minutes of funerary philosophy at an unhurried musical pace. Extreme vocals tear apart thin tissue in the middle of a calm instrumental like a knife stroke. And it continues to “run with scissors” throughout the album. Pretty nice clean vocals softens the beat enveloping the soul like a balm. The clean vocals on the album belongs to Areg Mkhoyan.
At certain points you don’t even notice how you get into a trance state. How you lose a particle of your former consciousness at the moment of listening. And at such moments you gain some new experience that is incomparable before.
The album is quite personal which not only the description confirms but it is felt from the material itself. It is endowed with its own special magic passing through an each track. The each composition here is as a stage in an existential narrative endowed with thoughts of destruction as a new beginning.
The second composition of the album is also quite long which is quite common for the genre. “Maelstrom” brings an even more touching beginning and the text eats into the brain with bleeding wounds. And acoustic motives again immerse the listener in a trance. A heavy layer with extreme voices and overloaded guitars is pulled out of a stupor. The melodic line perfectly complements the main sad motive.
The instrumental “Mournful Unconcern” is the culmination of depressive pain. Every beat is like a scar on a bewailing soul. This is really something a lot oppressive even by the standards of experienced doomsters. The final short instrumental “Madrigal” returns the listener to reality, bestowing the long-awaited catharsis.
Dramatic cover art by Natalie Arakelyan and minimalistic booklet design (Tigran Aghajanyan) contribute to the perception of the album as an alarming and serious opus. Among the invited musicians there are also noted: Miga (classic guitar), Anna Oganesyan and Artak Karapetyan (extra vocals). The mixing was done by Artak Karapetyan.
According to the author he drew inspiration from such projects as Lustmord, Dargaard, Colosseum, Thergothon, Evoken, Bohren & der Club of Gore, Grief, Winter, Dead Can Dance. And this is definitely confirmed when listening to four tracks. The work is very serious and will be useful not only for connoisseurs of the genre. It would benefit touching “Act I: The Protagonist” for anyone who is in a search of his inner self. Where there is the first act is should the second follow? I will look forward to continuing.
reviewer: chief editor Olga Kann