The Exploding Eyes Orchestra - I
Svart Records
Psychedelic Rock
7 songs ()
Release year: 2015
Svart Records
Reviewed by Alex

When I learned that The Exploding Eyes Orchestra consists largely of the members of the Finnish occult rock outfit Jess and the Ancient Ones, at first I could not understand why I is not just another release under the same moniker. Yet, upon further examination it became much more apparent to me why Thomas Corpse, prolific songwriter for both collectives, felt the need to put the songs from I under a different rubric.

Whereas Jess and the Ancient Ones, especially on Astral Sabbat and Castaneda were much more rock, I by The Exploding Eyes Orchestra is a lot more laidback, dreamy and atmospheric. Not sure what emotions possessed Thomas Corpse when he was composing I, or what mind altering substances were in his system, the album is full of soft drifting psychedelia. If you do not like keyboards in your music, perhaps I is the wrong album for you, at least its first four tracks. Hiding under the endless loops, 70s piano riffs (My Father the Wolf), warm bass, fuzzy smeared guitars (The Smoke) or acoustic strums (Crazy Heart), the songs from I are soft comfy pillows onto which to lay and drift off into the reverie. Compositions like Drawing Down the West, before it gets spurred on by drum rolls, sound like dark brooding Americana of sorts you could hear from Pesanta Urfolk releases. If you need a more European reference, especially considering Jess is the main vocalist, 3rd and the Mortal on Tears Laid in Earth is something I sounds like. Jess’ voice is not the centerpiece on the album. She tries to climb out from under the blurry misty shroud, and grows bolder at times (Crazy Heart), especially when outburst in the music warrants more edge to her voice (Drawing Down the West). Yet, most of the time she is an equal part to the puzzle, the whole experience buttressed by beautiful melodic bridges (Crazy Heart), interesting deep bass sound (Drawing Down the West) or something that sounds like a trumpet (Crazy Heart).

If things were to stay at the EP level and ended with Drawing Down the West, I would be recommended to the fans of The Gathering, The Devil’s Blood or Lake of Tears Forever Autumn period. Different, rocking Two-Zero 13 gives a glimpse of a dissonant and angry The Exploding Eyes Orchestra, but true weirdness begins after that. Black Hound is mostly bass playing in the background with the vocals being some male demented cinematic narration. Farewell to All-in-One goes on a total shoe/navel gazing with the distant bass playing some static still notes. Two-Zero 13, Black Hound, and Farewell to All-in-One for sure would not fit on anything I have heard from Jess and the Ancient Ones, so certainly a new channel was needed for Thomas Corpse to release his creations. The truth is I personally liked the first quartet on I a lot more.

The word has it, The Exploding Eyes Orchestra are not going to stop at just simple occasional studio release and will try to make a full go of it, scene playing, touring and all.

Killing Songs :
Crazy Heart, My Father the Wolf, Drawing Down the West
Alex quoted 69 / 100
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