I love old school death metal as much as the next person, so I'm always on the lookout for some good, old fashioned, long haired death metal. So along comes 7 Horns 7 Eyes, purporting to be just that: good ol' death metal, but with a modern twist. You can trust that, a few hours after this discovery, I held in my digital hands a copy of their debut, 2012's Throes of Absolution.
And on that count, 7 Horns 7 Eyes did not disappoint: Throes of Absolution sounds exactly like an old school death metal album, featuring low, sonorous growling, fast-paced and technical musicianship, and, of course, lots and lots of face-melting soloing. To augment the experience, the album also takes a lot of cues from more modern takes on the genre. The band takes numerous cues from progressive, djent, and neo-classical metal, featuring a lot of non-linear song structures, rhytmically complex playing, occasional symphonic backing, and lots of passages with heavily chromatic melodies. It sounds like early Symphony X with a bit of classic Death and early Opeth thrown in for good measure.
The main problem with this album is that, despite everything that it has going for it, it never really gets good. There is a huge, noticeable dearth of memorable moments on the album. Judging from their composition skills, the band certainly seem to know what they're doing, and don't get me wrong, the individual songs are pretty good, but after all is said and done, they don't seem to be able to actually deliver anything of note. The entire album plays like it's constantly on the edge of something great, but 7 Horns 7 Eyes seem to squander every opportunity created, choosing instead to wallow in mediocrity for an unnecessarily long and drawn-out fifty minutes. It's not an ear-rendingly bad listen, but by the end, you come away from it wondering what the point was.
Like I said, Throes of Absolution isn't an entirely bad album, and fans of generic prog and death may yet find something worthy on it to listen to, but I can't help but come away from it feeling like something is missing. This album feels incomplete, as if it was released three quarters of the way through being written, with the band leaving the pieces feeling unpolished and coming up just short of their full potential. 7 Horns 7 Eyes clearly have the right idea going on, but they have yet to fully realize what they're capable of.
6.0 / 10
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