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CENTER OF THE SUN

Eye

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.14 | 3 ratings

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VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars "Center of the Sun" is yet another independent progressive rock release which has been released on the "name your price" system which seems to be growing ever more popular with independent musicians. Musically I would describe this album as "psychedelic doom metal," but there's an incredible variety of sound that comes pretty close to krautrock at times. Though it can get a bit repetitive, the ambition of the album comes through loud and clear and that's more than enough to make this a fresh, exciting listen.

The title epic begins the album with some ominous whooshing sounds and some noisy, chaotic guitar and drums. It's an interesting effect, but it's not until some bass comes in to provide a rhythmic backbone that the track really begins to be compelling. This bass line ascends chromatically, other instruments whirling around the whole time. Some other percussion is added and the track begins to take on a driving, almost tribal feel. When the vocals enter at about 3 minutes in they sound as if the singer were in a trance, which suits the feel of the track perfectly, coming off like Pink Floyd crossed with Amon Duul II, with a little bit of doom metal thrown in for good measure. The gothic atmosphere that is created in all of this chaos persists for quite a while, with an extended instrumental section replacing the vocals for a bit as the atmosphere builds. Eventually the tempo picks up a bit and a low, fuzzy riff takes over, heightening the similarity to early Black Sabbath. This goes on for a while before the song again switches gears, this time launching into a Krautrock-ish section filled with electronic effects and an almost dark ambient feel. This motif is ended by the addition of some acid-drenched guitar chords, over which more psychedelic vocals are added. A final instrumental section runs through a gamut of motifs before vocals are once again added for the song's final section. As guitar finally closes out this monster of a track, the listener can't help feeling a bit breathless. As I've tried to describe, this song smashes genres together to create what I think can fairly be called a tour-de-force. It's definitely not the most cohesive piece of music I've ever heard (you can definitely hear different "sections" of the track) but it more than makes up for it with the sheer variety contained within. It's an incredibly ambitious track that (for the most part) works, and while it's not perfect it's a darn good listen.

"Usurpers" has the unfortunate job of following this monster, starting off with another very sludgy metal guitar section. The tempo picks up about a minute and a half in, and vocals are added, again using the sort of half chanting, half yelling style that appeared on much of the first song. That may sound a bit odd, but the music has such a hypnotic, groovy feel that it works pretty well. An instrumental section in the middle of the song does an excellent job of tying together the psychedelic and heavy elements in Eye's music, and there's a really stellar guitar solo that takes up most of the second half of the track as well.

"Restorers" begins on a much more uptempo, less doom-ridden motif, with some electronic sounds and a great bass line behind a repeated guitar chord. This theme is more or less abandoned as the vocals begin, but the song goes in a different direction than "Usurpers," utilizing bass and less-distorted guitar for a more classically psychedelic, more delicate sound, rather than the crushing doom-riffs that were so prominent on the previous tracks. There is a brief foray into a heavier sound in the middle, though it quickly returns to the earlier instrumentation and another awesome guitar solo dominates the ending section of this track, with the tempo slowly increasing and the music becoming increasingly more frenetic as the track draws to a close.

"Rik Rite" closes off the album, beginning with some uptempo drumming, guitar and synths that switch into another section of the same kind of psychedelic/gothic music that has permeated the album. The vocals take perhaps the most prominent role they have yet on the album, the doomy ethos and ominous delivery ascending to new heights of intensity. By the time the track crashes into its crushingly heavy climax, the listener begins to think that this music wouldn't be out of place in a movie about the end of the world. "Rik Rite" is a fitting closer for the album and certainly a fine song.

Overall then, I would say that "Center of the Sun" is a very good, albeit definitely imperfect album. The ambition here is stunning, and while the reach of the album probably exceeds its grasp it's still an incredibly good listen. This is a raw, heavy, album that runs on full intensity from its opening notes, sacrificing subtlety for chaos and power. A masterpiece of prog this is not. An essential listen it's not either. But it's fun and exciting, and its charm ultimately wins out over its flaws. Give it a listen and I suspect this will be one of those albums that just keeps popping up in your rotation.

3/5

VanVanVan | 3/5 |

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