Eyes of Fire - _Prisons_
(Century Media, 2006)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8.5 out of 10)
In closing his review of Eyes of Fire's debut _Ashes to Embers_, my esteemed colleague Jackie Smit really hit the nail on the head when he commented that "Eyes of Fire would benefit from a more layered and dense sound". Well, now they've got it, thanks to producer Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Isis), and it certainly helps. While I didn't rate _Ashes to Embers_ quite as highly as Mr. Smit, I still found it a rather promising debut effort; and indeed _Prisons_ turns out to be a very interesting improvement on its predecessor. Hearkening back to the echoes of some of the band members' origins with Mindrot during the '90s more than _Ashes to Embers_ did, _Prisons_ is a very intense album. While they will likely be compared to Neurosis for their kind of sonic heaviness and some of their vocal delivery, mistaking Eyes of Fire for someone else's clone would be a mistake.

Intensity is the key word on _Prisons_, with its strongly emotional content being poured on the listener in a succession of crushing riffs and tortured shouts, melodic guitar work and morose clean vocals. With song titles such as "Gone Forever", "It All Dies Today", "Dead to the World", "Falling Apart" and "All Said and Done", it is easy to find a pattern in the state of mind that is relentlessly portrayed throughout the album. The lyrics are similarly straightforward, even blunt at times, but that detracts nothing from the extent to which they suit the music. It all sounds cathartic for the band, rather than some conscious exercise in trying to come across as emotional.

The album survives the distinctly underwhelming opening track "Blood (This Consumes You)" and then starts to stack up some very impressive numbers. "Gone Forever" definitely keeps you listening, but it is especially when third track "It All Dies Today" kicks in that the record truly takes hold of the listener -- much like what happened when _Ashes to Embers_ reached its fourth track, "Hopeless". "True Love" and "Dead to the World" (with its Paradise Lost vibe) immediately follow suit, as does "Falling Apart". "Salvation" calms things down considerably, while "All Said and Done" is a deceptively quiet track brimming with despondency. "Fight Me" is a less remarkable track that leads onto album closer "Fire Inside", which is essentially a very good doom metal song, even featuring some piano.

_Prisons_ touches on a number of interesting elements, often succeeds in creating very strong songs, and comes across as inspired, cohesive, emotional and honest. There is still room for improvement, as the cliché goes, but for the time being Eyes of Fire managed to surpass my expectations.

Contact: http://www.eyesoffire.us

(article published 5/18/2006)


ALBUMS
2/29/2004 J Smit 9 Eyes of Fire - Ashes to Embers
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