Eidola - Eviscerate (Cover Artwork)


Eviscerate (2024)

Blue Swan / Rise Records

This is another review that I’ve had to look into the band’s listenership before starting, in order to get a feel for how well-known they are. They never come up in conversations I have with my immediate music circle, but they’re not representative of the wider populace, I’ll concede. What’s unusual about Eidola is their ability to wield melody with such obvious talent, but to twin it with heaviness and complexity that makes them pretty much impenetrable to the mainstream. Aesthetically, they could surely slide into a role at least alongside the recent “baddiecore” phenomenon if they wanted? I’ll grant you they don’t necessarily have the ‘newness’ factor of those other bands, but this is another fascinating element of the band. They only have 142k monthly listeners, which is mid-tier for a band on this site I guess so a quick potted history might help.

Eidola have been around for 13 years at this point with their debut record dropping in 2012. At that point they fitted, in a weird sort of way, into the musical landscape in the wake of Meshuggah’s landmark record Obzen when the appetite for technically complex and polyrhythmic music exploded. As has always been the case when an extreme metal sub-genre gains some degree of notoriety, there tends to be an uptick in more palatable versions thereof as well. I’m not for a second suggesting that Eidola formed with this in mind, and in actual fact, they have seemingly refused, at every possible turn, to make themselves the commercial proposition they could so easily be. And a lot of this has to do with not only the more challenging and abrasive side of their music, but the subject matter they more typically focus on. That subject matter being theology, psychology, the human experience and examination thereof. Not throwaway bubblegum fare by any means. But it’s this complexity of substance juxtaposed with mastermind Andrew Wells’ (vocals, guitar, bass, keys) voice and flair for melody that is maybe the most continuously surprising. The man is an extraordinary talent. He has bandmates who play bass, guitars and of course drums, but his artistic endeavour is clear to see and almost tangible in its clarity.

I’ve become something of a fan of Eidola since 2017’s To Speak, To Listen first introduced me to their unique brand of melodic technicality and profound, if sometimes baffling subject matter. Then in 2021 they followed up with The Architect which I similarly loved. So obviously I was delighted when I heard of this record’s impending release. It’s important for me to say that I’ve only had this for a couple of weeks at this point, so am some way from having completely unpacked it still. That being said, what is clear is that the flair for a poppy vocal hook is still present and correct, there is maybe a touch more aggression in this collection of songs than the last couple of records, but the textural dynamics are still utilised to incredible effect and it’s still produced with enough grit and punch to completely quell any suggestions of taking aim at the mainstream. Overall, it’s a techy, progressive metalcore band fronted by a Justin Timberlake sound-a-like, backed by a harsh vocalist for some real moments of wild juxtaposition and fury. There is tastefully utilised additional instrumentation and electronics, but somehow the guitar-led attack retains a completely human feel to it.

The songwriting is pleasingly fluid as well. There’s invention, experimentation, atonal breakdowns and pace changes all over the place. And though the harsher and melodic vocals are distinct, the continuous interplay means they don’t feel disconnected. I’m still searching for a reason why the band don’t have more of a following if I’m honest, but it may simply be that there is less of a market for a band who can be truly complex, heavy and also melodic simultaneously. Which feels like a shame. Because there are bands of far lesser talent doing something similar, in a diluted, less well-delivered way (Sleep Token, Bad Omens, etc) and filling stadiums. I guess there’s no justice in the world, but then that is hardly a revelation.