Angel Eyes came up just a little bit short, but not in the way most people would probably assume. It's not in the quality of the album that the shortcoming took place, more when it was released. I wasn't able to actually hear this record until the beginning of this week, and it's quite a shame, because this would have otherwise made a real impact in my top 20, possibly even creeping into one of the top five spots.
Every element of Something to Do with Death screams epic. After a five minute-long intro track, each of the following three songs are, at minimum, thirteen minutes long. But this is precisely the type of record where you pay no attention to song length, and just allow yourself to be entranced, be taken headfirst into Angel Eyes' world; I promise you, you will not want to leave. Full of twists and turns, each song brings out the absolute best in beauty and power. They spend the majority of the time meandering through delicate soundscapes, but often find themselves teetering on the edge of an outright combustion, only to bring things back down to earth once again, only whetting your appetite for something more. The instrumentation soars, and anyone listening won't be able to help getting swept up into it all.
As strong as the instrumentation is, sporadic bits and pieces of vocals find their way into the fray, and their short presence makes for an immediate impact.
Whereas Isis opts for low, droning screams, Angel Eyes set themselves apart. They know that there's not a lot of music that does involve screaming, so while it's going, it had better be making people listen. Delivered in a slow, methodical manner, the style is more akin to the raspy screams of Jake Bannon than anything else, as these screams command the listener's full and outright attention, before they're again submersed into the delicate balances of guitar, bass, and drums. The music is undeniably heavy, without trying to pound you into submission, and that's the beauty of it. These four musicians have the ultimate understanding of mood and balance, and with every passing minute it becomes more and more apparent.
Beneath a low crackle, the voice of an inspired preacher reads his verses. Ruthless, he drives every point home, leaving no one to question his words. Amidst the rhetoric about faith and judgment, delicate guitar tones, slow, pulsing drums, and the shuffling of shards of broken glass get louder and louder, until the preacher is nothing more than a dull reminder in the background. The rhythm guitar progressively loudens, taking on an angry feel, the drums are pounded just a little bit harder, all the while those same gorgeous tones that began the song are succumbing to the swirling dissonance behind it, until everything fades and the preacher is heard again for just a short while, until what was just that swirling dissonance now leads the pace of the entire song, with the drums still loudening, until those raspy vocals reenter the scene. This is true beauty in chaos. The intricate harmonies lie comfortably below the chaos brewing above, until it slows once more, to give the preacher his second chance, or so it seems, as the feedback drowns his words out once more. They never really leave, they're just lost amongst everything else taking place. Back to square one. The drums slowly pound, the air is filled with an ominous, anxious vibe, and the guitar begins its ascent. The vocals return, but above a calm this time; there's nothing to deter the attention from the words, but that too sees its end as the instrumentation chugs along, loud and dynamic as ever, and there's no way to keep from being swept up in the sheer power of the track; the drums get louder, the fills shorter, and the screaming disappears for a few moments. That anticipation is still there, those passionate vocals are coming back and it's only a matter of time. A short burst cascades in, and is gone just as quickly, and it's time for one final climb. Louder, and louder, the rhythm envelops everything before it, reaching a fevered pitch, every cylinder firing before it finally releases for good, the words of that preacher having the last laugh.
The final track is entirely instrumental, and features a more punishing approach than was seen before, but the scope and grandeur is just the same. These four musicians are so perfectly in tune with each other it's astounding, each man working off the others to better their own musicianship, and the result is a tight, varied, and absolutely epic musical journey. This is easily one of the best albums of its kind to come along in a while, worth purchasing for "Political Capital AKA Eleven States Worth Of Christians Fed to the Lions" alone. That was the song I described in real depth, and my words can't do it, or the album as a whole justice. Truly phenomenal.