This first review will cover the first Ep by Eyes of Noah, called Distance. This band was born in Udine, Italy, and offers a nice metalcore with clear inspiration to Architects (in a good sense in this case, we are not faced with copycats without dignity, the sounds go to take cues from other trends and other sub-genres of modern metal, up to touch electronics, post hardcore and djent (but only for ideas, we will come back to this sonic feature).
This Ep consists of 4 real tracks, an intro and an interlude (which, IMO, would have been a great song if completed with vocals, but I’m anticipating too much dammit, WAIT) and at first glance I’d say we’re looking at pieces that wink at modern and “classic” with really interesting ideas and really well organized structures.
But let’s get going, let’s have a nice excursus of all the pieces with some minor analysis that will seem unnecessary but never hurts, in the end the reason you are reading is this, to say “well, actually he’s right” or “wow, I hadn’t thought of that” or even “no come on, unbelievable, I had thought the exact same thing.”
Chapter I: Singularity(01:06)
A pumping intro of arpeggiating strings over a carpet of symphonic textures and war drums. This beautiful duality perfectly anticipates what this EP is going to be: super catchy melodies with added chilli as if we dislike so much having functioning taste buds. And after this perfectly representative short intro we launch into God’s Epitaph
God’S Epitaph (02:58)
Let’s preface this with the fact that a version that is no longer in circulation I had already heard, so I already knew this song “well.” This new re-release, however, sounds 1000 times better. We begin with a beautiful and evergreen “AAAAAAAH” to overlay a progressively faster and more aggressive instrumental. This initial rant resolves into an even more powerful thrust in the melodic opening that basically already showcases the technical abilities of the instrumental and, especially, the vocal section.
We move from almost nu metal riffs because of their nicely accentuated groove, to chords and leads typically associated with modern metalcore with screams and vocal lines that blend excellently with the underlying atmosphere.
There is no shortage of syncopated breakdowns that turn into straightforward, no-nonsense drum rushes and moments where the guitar takes the lead with delightful melodies. So let’s face it, there is no shortage of dynamics and no getting bored listening to God’s Epitaph.
Prometheus, previously released as a single, picks up where God’s Epitaph left off. Opening very close to what are the sounds of bands like Polaris with a necessary addition of chuggs and vocal nastiness (accentuated by the use of layers with timbres of different intensity and “pitch”) to make it fuller and less sparse. The chorus is the highlight of this song: a curious odd-time arrangement that, however, does not go to spoil the exquisite catchiness of the epic vocal lines and beautiful noodly noodly leads.
The dynamics of the piece remain consistently excellent in alternating extremely groovy riffs with almost ambient melodic openings and direct breakdowns with a djent taste to them.
The title track comes in as the longest track of the ep and opens with Mick Gordon-ian synths (I’m talking about the Doom soundtrack for you ignorants) that are softened (but not too much and not for too long) by a short melody reminds me a lot of some pads used by bands with Ice Nine Kills or, for the more scene (rawr XD) out there Famous Last Words, so very very interesting as a treat. The guitar and the rest of the instrumental is not long in coming with a riff that on a harmonic level will remain unchanged but on a melodic level will evolve as the vocals start to scratch everything, moving sporadically into increasingly lead and articulate territories. The chorus can be described as “tranquility,” in a totally positive sense. There are no intrusive leads, the vocals are exquisitely delicate and harmonized in a way that feels relaxed and almost dreamlike (I know, I use nice words).
Just past the halfway point comes the universal cue for a smashing breakdown: a guitar repeating a pattern in palm muting. The build up does not disappoint and the breakdown hits as it should with perfectly fitted grooves and rushes (maybe on a first listen it might seem too short but,spoiler, it’s not over heheh).
And just like that we find ourselves going from headbanging like morons to appreciating a pre chorus with clean guitar, muffled drums, and clean vocals leading into the second and final chorus of the song that kicks it up a notch with an increasingly epic second half in which both vocals and guitar come alive and begin to show their virtuoso potential.
Oh and I forgot, before the song ends it presents us again with an even tighter variation of the breakdown from earlier that comes out of nowhere like a brick on the nose
Chapter II: Gravity (01:48)
The first half of the EP ends with a fully instrumental interlude. This short track opens with a synth that is very reminiscent of Digital Renegade by I See Stars (proving that this EP’s influences span multiple branches of modern metalcore).
And then comes in the whoòe band.
What arrives is a slow, majestic arrangement that, heck, would have been perfect as an outro for a song, chorus, or directly a non-instrumental song in its own right, with added melodies in clean vocals. It would probably have been one of the most solid pieces on the EP, so you can get a sense of the potential of this short interlude.
Dudes, we are faced with the objectively best piece on the EP.
Totally sung in clean vocals and with sophisticated arrangements that are extremely melodic without being cloying, however. In fact, the overall appeal of the song is precisely due to this catchiness that is not predictable but in a way nostalgic, which makes you almost anticipate what is to come without, however, taking away the awe of the artistic choice (If you reread it several times it makes more sense, I promise). The chorus is amazing and creates incredible hype with vocal lines that are nothing short of perfect and instrumentals that almost remind me of the melodic openings of The Contortionist in Exoplanet (see Flourish or Oscillator).
The verses travel down this soft and accommodating road until they flow into an emotionally impactful guitar solo full of feeeeeelz. This song is paradoxically the most different from the rest of the EP, but the ideas it contains are developed in a seemingly more balanced way. It is not the totally clean vocals or the instrumental with a less aggressive approach that makes it the best, but the emotional power of the ideas. As you can read in what I write on this site I value very much the emotional impact something has on people. That’s what art is all about, to emote. And Bloom excites from beginning to end
Last North (04:33)
Last north closes this Ep with a skipping and sonically more classic arrangement that winks at a more “old school” type of metalcore, aggressive, dirty and fast with that tendentially more “hardcore” approach. That is why listening to this track I can’t help but be reminded of bands like Evergreen Terrace. Probably the influence of this band did not come directly but Last North would not disfigure in albums like Almost Home with its fast choruses and distinctly core melodic openings accompanied by leads and ostinatos charged with emotion rather than a desire to prove they can play fast (Which is not present in the other pieces either, by the way).
Ultimately Distance is extremely solid, flows really well, and as an effective debut is really enviable. Don’t miss it because you might regret it. The production serves the songs perfectly without, however, expiring in extremely Djent medium guitars in favor of harder, saturated and aggressive sounds; or ultra effected vocals with tons of autotune that instead come across extremely organic and concrete.
A technical and compositional proof worth a full promotion.
Follow Eyes of Noah, c’mon