EX EYE — Ex Eye (review)

EX EYE — Ex Eye album cover Album · 2017 · Avant-garde Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
2.5/5 ·
By first look, it would be easy to mistake Ex Eye's debut studio album as some sort of atmospheric black metal album. However, you may notice by looking at its entry on this site, there are no vocals and rather horns. No bass either, instead using synth. So what should one expect from this? Well, you can't really expect much until you listen to it...

...and once you do, there's a bit of conflict that may come with a full listen. I must say, that when you first start the album, it's hard not to get addicted to the first song. Damn is it catchy, and gets you hooked. I'd describe it as space metal, sounding a bit like what may be a classic Hawkwind cut. The drums are the main star here, with a steady locked in groove that keeps the foot tapping and just the right amount of fills to give it the right amount of flavor, all courtesy of Liturgy's Greg Fox. The more you listen though, the more that the rest of the instruments stand out. It all blends together and grooves, but the horns, guitar, and droning synth bring in a nice chill vibe to the whole thing.

Unfortunately, this first song tricks you into thinking that this will be an amazing spacey instrumental metal journey of a catchy variety. The rest of the tracks (on the physical release), while retaining a similar atmosphere, are more of an avant-garde and slightly jazzy black metal sound. They just kind of drone on and don't have enough to differentiate themselves from one another. Occasionally there will be an interesting drum fill, but most of the time it's on black metal auto-pilot. This is at it's worse on Anaitis Hymnal, which is easily the worst song on the album. Ever want to hear really generic atmospheric black metal with no guitar to be heard? Then this is for you, as it is dominated by a synthetic yet blaring atmosphere with pretty constant double-bass drumming. The horns also sometimes present a problem. While barely audible on the aforementioned track, they are often too avant-garde for my tastes. I would have liked to hear some more catchy melodies, or more of the perfect blend of instruments from that first song Xenolith.

The physical release excludes the fifth song, don't ask me why as it could easily fit on the disc. This song is pretty great, and is easily the second highlight of the album after the first track. While the first few minutes sound like the horns are dying a painful death, skip ahead and it starts to sound like some cool experimental electronic track before letting the guitar shine in the style of an old school 70's rock jam. You don't hear too many awesome old school guitar jams these days, so it's welcome to hear. After that, you finally get to hear a return to the catchy space metal vibe of the first track, just a bit slower and doom-sounding this time around.

Overall, this is certainly an acquired taste. For those who love experimental space rock, the first and last tracks are probably some of the best of 2017 that you'll hear of that variety. However, the rest of the album is only for fans of avant-garde noodling or atmospheric black metal blandness, which I certainly am not one. Either way, avoid the physical release. Ordinarily, I would never say that, but in this case it's a rip off. Not including a song that could easily be included makes zero sense. If these guys hone in on the sound of the first and last tracks, I think they could make something really great next time around. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!
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Tupan wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Man, I love this album, one of the best releases from this year!
siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I like this one. It's more of a transcendential experience than anything. It's one of those albums where having a firm foundation in jazz music is rather essential otherwise it may come off as aimless noise. Ah well, it's definately an acquired taste :)
Unitron wrote:
more than 2 years ago
MMA's Reviewer's Challenge November 2017, album selected by mlkpad14


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