Release DetailsLABEL Century Media
RELEASED ON 2/7/2006
Eyes Of Fire
posted on 2/2006 By:
Prisons surprises me for a number of reasons. For one, I am absolutely astonished that such creatively depressing gothic/doom metal could come from Orange County. Somehow I am just not able to correlate sun and sand with song titles like “Dead to the World” and “It All Dies Today.” The second reason I am surprised is because I listened to Ashes to Embers, and it just didn’t strike me immediately like this album did. Not to say that it was horrible, but it was solid and nothing more. The third reason has to do with the fact that I saw these guys live a few months ago, and they were beyond brutal. Their performance certainly didn’t suggest their next album would contain some of the softer, more subtle and drawn-out moments that Prisons does. Mind you, I loved their performance, but it simply didn’t hint at the diverse sound they’ve created on their second full-length. Eyes of Fire encapsulates everything you’d ever want from doom and gloom metal; convincingly depressing and well-devised lyrics, infectiously brutal riffs, multi-toned and textured vocals, and a tight rhythm section that establishes a keen sense of immediacy. Prisons is a fat middle finger aimed straight at who or whatever is pissing you off at any given moment, guaranteed to at least give you the satisfaction of knowing your anger can be channeled through the influence of one album alone. Not enough can be said of the sheer emotion conveyed in these ten songs. You wouldn’t even need to pay attention to the lyrics; the caustic, corrosive riffs courtesy of one Dan Kaufmann seep through the listener’s veins like the purest of musical liquid drugs. Songs like “Dead to the World,” with choruses that read like the anthems of the pissed off blue collar type, really transfer well in terms of their ability to take deceivingly simple lyrics and inject them with passion through vocal inflections. The first half is absolute gold, and I’ve been told it’s closer to the Mindrot sound than the latter half. You’re not going to find a better set of opening songs to a full-length release in 2006 than “Blood (This Consumes You),” “Gone Forever,” first single “It All Dies Today,” “True Love,” and “Dead to the World.” The latter half of the album sounds like a mixed bag at first, with immediately striking songs like “Falling Apart,” “Salvation,” and “All Said and Done” and initially lifeless songs like “Fight Me” and Fire Inside,” the album closers, but patience proves quite the virtue here and soon enough you’ll grow to love them just as much and perhaps more than the rest of the album. It’s important to note that this is not Isis. This is not Neurosis. This is not Mastodon. This is Eyes of Fire. Give credit where credit is due. Chunky, melodically depressing and brutal riffs, a unique vocal approach, deceivingly simple but powerful lyrics, and the ability to take all of those elements and crush them into one hell of an enticing CD that’s chock full of hooks defines this group in a way that merits notice without comparison. I will return time and time again to Prisons this year, and years to come, and not only when I am feeling like the ten year old whose mom always forgets to pick him up after baseball practice or the door-to-door salesman with a fading red tie and a fake smile who can’t seem to get anyone to talk to him for more than ten seconds. This album is so brutal and yet so beautiful that it could appeal to almost anybody, from the extreme to the progressive metal fan. It’s still very early, but the fact that I am almost guaranteeing that this will end up in my top 5 for ’06 should tell you how impressed I was by this very promising group of southern Californians.
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