One of the most mind-blowing bands to come out of Columbus, Ohio is a group called Eye. They have released their third album entitled, Vision and Ageless Light. This was an album I was really excited for because I have almost forgotten about them since hearing their debut in 2011, Center of the Sun. With two albums in the can and a live album, and different line-up changes, Eye are back in action and being signed to The Laser’s Edge label, it shows there’s no stopping them.
When it was announced this year they were releasing the new album and coming in November before Thanksgiving, I went ahead and pre-ordered the album from The Laser’s Edge website. With five tracks including one clocking in at 27 minutes, the new line-up which Eye drummer Brandon Smith who’s played on the first two albums, he still has the goods.
Vision and Ageless Light considers alongside Brandon Smith, Lisa Bella Donna on Keyboards, 6 and 12-string Guitar, and Vocals; Michael Slicien, Bass Guitar, Upright Bass, Percussion and Vocals; and Jon Finley on Electric/Acoustic Guitar. It is a sonic voyage combined with psychedelic, progressive, and doom metal with essence of Black Sabbath, ASTRA, and Pink Floyd showing a return to form.
Opener, Book of the Dead features the Mellotron going through the strings and cello sections between the mind of Eloy and King Crimson’s Lizard-era before Brandon’s drums open the floodgates as the electronic synths kick in by Lisa herself as she delves into the mode of the late, great Edgar Froese. Michael and Jon do some rumbling rhythms in a fuzz tone/dooming sound on the Guitar and Bass before Jon and Lisa head into a jazzier section as they Kill the Slavemaster.
The arrangements are staggering and almost as if Lisa is conducting and writing a story in the styles of both Richard Corben and Michael Moorcock and doing something straight out of the adult illustrated fantasy comic-book, Heavy Metal. What I also love about Eye, is they pay homage to not just the late ‘60s and early ‘70s of psychedelic and progressive music, but doing in the styles of a band.
With Searching, they do the song in the styles of East of Eden’s Northern Hemisphere and my eye-brows went up right from the moment they head back into the milky way as they hurl through the cosmic voyages of Space Rock. They take their ship with a roaring sound to get ready for action to search for new life. And then Brandon goes into the drumming techniques of Mitch Mitchell in the Hendrix-sque groove.
Eye really gives listeners some unexpected twists and turns. And they do! The band switch from Space into Psych-Acoustic-Folk music with the mood melodies of insanity into the space-like sky with double-tracked vocal effects with the delay/reverb sounds with mid-tempo rhythms to meet the Dweller of the Twilight Void. The finale which clocks in at 27 minutes and 11 seconds is, As Sure as the Sun.
With the acoustic guitars coming in and mellotron’s galore, Lisa takes her keyboards into the styles of the Krautock scene. All of a sudden it transforms to a heavy, swirling, militant, and dynamic format of Rush’s A Farewell to Kings-era meets Nektar’s A Tab in the Ocean-era. It feels as if a story is taking place as this character is going on a suicidal mission going to sacrifice his life by heading towards the heart of the sun and knowing he will be at peace instead of living like a manic depressive.
Lisa is very much in the haywire modes on her keyboards as Brandon goes a bit all over the place on the drums. There are some driving sections a-la ASTRA style with chugging grooves as guitars with the lead and rhythm sections blare out of the soaring tunnels as it changes into atmospheric haunting melodies from the minds of Annot Rhul and Van Der Graaf Generator and of course, Nektar.
Vision and Ageless Light is a welcome back for the band. It is weird, mind-boggling, and out of this world, but it is an accomplishment. This is one of the most powerful journey's I’ve listened to and I hope they will do more for the next years to come. If you are new to the band’s music, this is worth recommending.