Artist: End of Aeon
Album: Through Infant Eyes
I largely feel like, in my personal experience, fans of female-fronted metal largely (though not always) tend to fall into two categories – there are those who listen to the really well-known bands like Nightwish, Amaranthe, Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation, etc, and then there are the ones who prefer their music a little less mainstream, like The Gathering, Sirenia, and so on. Because I’m not a technical writer when it comes to this stuff, I can’t say exactly what the difference is between these bands other than how well-known they are because all of them share many elements, be it Gothic sounds, symphonics, or whatever, and some of them have male vocalists, growlers or clean, while others don’t. If I was to take a guess at the difference, it’s that the mainstream bands are more likely to have elements of pop in them – consider how much more liked Within Temptation was prior to The Unforgiving, or how people started to get disenchanted with Lacuna Coil around the time of Shallow Life. It’s not that they are unpopular now, far from it, but their fanbase shifted. It seems to me that it’s as simple as the listener being okay with pop elements… or not.
End of Aeon was brought to my attention a couple of months ago, and as I’m always interested in trying out new music (especially female-fronted), I decided to give it a listen. After listening to the album a couple of times, I am happy to announce that the pickier fans of female-fronted metal may have a new band to listen to.
Listen to the album here:
Through Infant Eyes is a melodic doom album that clocks in at an easy-going 45 minutes with eight songs of varying length. It has that seriousness that you find in the more oldschool non-pop female-fronted bands, and it is refreshingly lacking in pop sounds (as is appropriate for doom metal). It’s the sort of music that puts me mentally in an old ivy-covered ruin in the woods. Olli Suvanto has those really deep, harsh growls, which mix nicely with the powerful female vocals of Sara Strommer, creating that much-beloved beauty and the beast sound. The pacing is rather mellow, so lacking the pop elements, it doesn’t have those catchy hooks in the songs. As such, it may not have instant appeal to the average listener and is more likely to work its way into the hearts of the hardcore metal fans who want their metal to be free of pop elements. This also makes the album work better as a whole, as there aren’t certain songs that stand out, creating imbalance.
As for the songs themselves, “Ascension” is a perfectly adequate starter, though it understates the album a bit, lacking the required dynamic or oomph to captivate immediately. The over-9-minute “I Am” didn’t overly stand out either, though I started to like “Endless Agony” and it’s ethereal wails by Strommer. However, “Verity” is where things really begin to pick up, putting a bit more energy into things, with some really good power! And if Swallow the Sun’s doom metal is up your alley, you might be a little bored after the first few songs, but don’t give up! By the time you reach “Pure Emptiness I” and “II,” you’re likely to have a different opinion. As a whole, the album builds up quite nicely… it runs the risk of chasing off impatient listeners who won’t give the whole thing a chance, but is liable to please those who stick it through! “Ocean of Sincerity” highlights Strommer really nicely with a deep, haunting, echoing effect, and the closing track, “Sealed Haven,” manages to be a nice mix of heavy and pretty all in one, feeling like a good, conclusive place to end the album.
It’s hard for me to pinpoint the exact appeal of doom metal, but it might have something to do with the fact that the music isn’t lively, but can still give you energy. Through Infant Eyes is a nice album, heavy and beautiful with strong, dynamic music that’s easy to listen to both actively and passively. I’m happy to call it a really solid sophomore effort and I’m expecting good things from these guys in the future!
Rating: 7/10, 4 stars!
2. I Am
3. Endless Agony
5. Pure Emptiness I
6. Pure Emptiness II
7. Ocean of Sincerity
8. Sealed Haven