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Kayo Dot - Choirs Of The Eye CD (album) cover

CHOIRS OF THE EYE

Kayo Dot

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.26 | 277 ratings

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Pafnutij
3 stars With their official debut album, Kayo Dot has managed to expand the boundaries of avant-garde metal, albeit with mixed results. Although they're obviously not the first band to mix soft melodic parts with explosions of hardcore fury in marathon-length compositions, they do so in an intelligent and listenable manner. Of course, combining light and extremely heavy approaches will inevitably call for comparisons to Opeth, who greatly perfected this style and have used it to it's fullest effect. The similarities end right there, however, as overall the two bands exhibit considerably different musical tendencies. As mentioned earlier, Kayo Dot's heavy sections often gravitate towards more of a noisy hardcore sound, with Toby Driver regularly screaming his head off (there's plenty of clean vocals on the album as well). Otherwise, when in the metal mode, the group opts for sluggish, plodding tempos more in line with doom metal.

On the whole, the group's style of composition is melodic and quite accessible - in fact, I was hoping for something more challenging given the fact that the band is "musically literate". Still, the album hosts a number of considerably complex (and generally satisfying) moments. However, a large portion of "Choirs of the Eye" is rather dull and repetitive (the normally slow pace of the album contributes to this). The band's sound quickly becomes formulaic as well, and halfway through the album you're already hoping for something fresh.

The strongest tracks here are the two longest ones, "The Manifold Curiosity" and "The Antique". The mostly laidback first half of "Curiosity" is monotonous, but things get more interesting with the arrival of a dissonant interlude driven by a growing violin maelstrom; the build-up predictably leads into full-on metal bombast, but at the very end the some creative riffing is thrown in, making the whole track quite worthwhile overall. The first several minutes of "The Antique" are a bit disheartening as well, although it picks up a bunch of cool riffs as it drags onwards lazily; eventually, a guitar solo leads into a dynamic metal onslaught, before the band eases into a soft outro section; despite it's optimistic appearance, the gentle vocals have a very haunting quality to them, making it a very effective way to end the album.

All in all, "Choirs of the Eye" is a decent effort. It doesn't really inspire me check out their new opus, and I won't recommend it to those seeking something particularly experimental, but it's worth a spin or two.

Pafnutij | 3/5 |

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