Angel Eyes - Midwestern (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Angel Eyes

Midwestern (2010)

The Mylene Sheath

Angel Eyes apparently quit titling their songs with 2007's ...And for a Roof a Sky Full of Stars., but when you only have a few songs per album, that's probably okay. Their debut for The Mylene Sheath, Midwestern, only has four, but they are long, winding behemoths that total nearly 44 minutes, beckoning the more obscure class of Hydra Head acts.

The band have always been kinda like older Envy–albeit denser and sludgier, weaving heavy, occasionally beautiful instrumentation with ferocious bellowing atop it. Midwestern doesn't necessarily change their M.O., but it holds up well. The front half of "One" is mostly a prowling, muculent march with beastly screams pushing it along until a more stripped, ominous bridge builds things before the band return with a fuller, stonier wall of sound. Vocally, the band's screamo roots enter the fold a little later, and some more epic post-rock/metal riffing makes for an excellent wake-up call if you've been lulling a bit. But this is largely a carefully sludgy, instrumetal album of sorts, just with some howling vocals here and there.

"Two" and "Three" continue much in the same fashion, with stomping, lurching movements offering a couple of pulsing gaps in between. There are plenty of guitar tone changeups, but there's largely a murkiness to Midwestern that clouds it. Closer "Four" could be the highlight, even with it running an epic 15 minutes. The buildup just sounds tribal, there's some piercing, warp pedal effects, and the smokey guitars swell and swell until it just sounds like the band can't take any more self-mutilation. You just imagine them crouched down on stage on their knees, playing with their pedals until they're aurally and physically exhausted.

Midwestern's title suggests what the album offers: dreariness that your attention may tend to drift from, but otherwise tends to offer a brooding brutality.