Written by: TL on 29/08/2015 16:27:17

Admittedly, it can feel a bit one-dimensional making note that Blue Swan Records is endorsing yet another band of the progressive rock/technical post-hardcore persuasion, yet in the case of Salt Lake City quintet Eidola, listeners are strongly recommended to see past that. Because with the band's debut full-length "Degeneraterra" from May, the group enters Will Swan's roster and heads straight to the top of the list, establishing themselves next to Hail The Sun with some of the best music the label has released so far.

"My intention is to explore the realm of consciousness and the human condition" sings vocalist Andrew Michael Wells on opener proper "Omni: First Temple", after the screamed intro of "Pseudomonarchia Daemonum", and as ludicrous guitar and drum patterns race past him, the band's style is established quickly in the same vein as groups like The Fall Of Troy, Closure In Moscow and indeed Hail The Sun. On the vocal side, Wells enters in collaboration with both guitarists, Brandon Bascom and Matthew Dommer, so it is hard to know who sings what, but it is easy to be pleased with the range of vocal sounds they manage to output between them. There is coarse screaming not unlike that of Dance Gavin Dance's Jon Mess, but this is used sparsely compared to cleanly sung leads and choral lines, including some of that much sought after scratchy belting that Jonny Craig fans have long been wanting to hear from someone less scandalous, paired with surreal falsetto parts reminiscent of A Lot Like Birds' Kurt Travis or Closure In Moscow's Christopher de Cinque.

With song titles like "The Great Deception Of Marquis Marchosias" and "Traversing Through The House Of Delphi", alongside lyrics that circle back around the question of what is actually real, it is clear that Eidola's content is partly high-minded philosophical waxing and partly occult references, which may seem a little out there, but it hardly subtracts from the listening experience because as the band also truthfully prophesies early in "Omni: First Temple" "We'll give you consistency!". And so they do, with a lavish, thirteen track banquet of technical modern prog freakouts, characterised by parts that more often than not are strung together in such complimentary ways that the listener's attention is continually lured deeper down the rabbit's hole.

With the first proper track already being cited twice, things start off well, yet the following "The Comfort We Find In Our Vices" immediately ups the ante and contends as one of the best songs on the record. The movement from eerie intro through a briefly screamed bridge and down into the math-rock-ish verse is majestic in itself and from there on out the track is just one long, finger-twisting, orgasmic listen, highlighted of course with deceptively catchy vocal melodies. Competition arrives immediately thereafter though, as the mellower "Humble Ledger (Gnostic States)" provides the most sensible track progression of the album, leading you gently from subtle balladry up through an extremely funky solo to a point where the vocals, drums and guitars all dance around each other with increasing haste.

Later on, the mentioned "Traversing Through The House Of Delphi" offers another thrilling ride, while the following opening to the album's second act, "Contra: Second Temple", also unfurls in a display of delicious Mars Volta-esque splendor. And truthfully, there are barely any moments on "Degeneraterra" where increased attention from the listener is not seized and rewarded to the fullest. There are a few, however, which would be mentioned in the department of criticisms along with the album's most apparent flaw, namely that it is perhaps just a bit too homogenous and labyrinthine as a whole. A song like "Omega: Third Temple" is a pretty good place to observe this, as it starts with an amazingly distinctive intro, the kind which you feel could have helped more songs stand apart better, yet the song twists and turns so many times through its eight minutes of length that you can end up losing track of the fact that you are still listening to the same track.

Yet those really are the few details you could suggest for Eidola to be a bit mindful of moving forward: To be just a little less long-winded both in their longer tracks and on an album as a whole, and to perhaps emphasise some signature movements or melodies a bit better to give their tracks stronger individual personalities. Such efforts could have made a record like "Degeneraterra" even better as an album to cherry-pick tracks from according to shifting moods, which would then compliment the fact that it is already an album you will want to spin in its mysterious entirety and then repeat. At the same time it is one of the most complex and yet also most inviting records of the year so far, and it is only regrettable that it did not find us sooner. Music nerds rejoice for this one is your kind of beast.

Download: Humble Ledger (Gnostic States), The Comfort We Find In Our Vices, Traversing Through The House Of Delphi, Contra: Second Temple
For The Fans Of: Hail The Sun, Closure In Moscow, The Fall Of Troy, Coheed And Cambria, Artifex Pereo
Listen: facebook.com/eidolaUT

Release date 05.05.2015
Blue Swan Records

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