5th May 2015 – Blue Swan Records
01. Pseduomonarchia Daemonum
02. Omni: First Temple
03. The Comfort We Find In Our Vices
04. Humble Ledger (Gnostic States)
05. The Great Deception of Marquis Marchosias
06. Traversing Through the House of Delphi
07. Contra: Second Temple
10. To Know What’s Real
11. The Purpose We Find in Our Voices
12. Omega: Third Temple
13. De Coelesti Hierarchia
Will Swan’s Blue Swan Records are making fantastic choices with their roster. Between Secret Band, Stolas, Hail The Sun and now Eidola, there’s a swathe of quality coming out of the Dance Gavin Dance guitarist’s label. Degeneraterra is the latest, Eidola’s first album on the label, and second full-length overall – and it too is mightily impressive.
Based on the comparisons Eidola have received to bands as diverse (and as perfect) as Dredg, Circa Survive, The Dear Hunter, and Thrice, the introductory track “Pseduomonarchia Daemonum” was positively jarring in the unabashed aggressiveness – manifested in the main by throat-ripping gang vocals. The 59 minutes that follow are not toothless by any means, but they are far from a representation of the rest of the work displayed on Degeneraterra, which does in fact sound a great deal like the aforementioned bands.
At first listen, Degeneraterra sounds very complicated – and maybe even a little unsure of itself, given that so many things are going on both between the tracks, and within them. However, this is one of those albums that seems to reward paying it due attention over multiple playthroughs. The songs alternate harder and softer sounds fluidly and although they sometime run the risk of sounding to similar to one another, they really come into their own and distinguish themselves after multiple listens. Mid-album highlight “Divide” could have been lifted straight out of Circa Survive’s strange and sad 2007 masterpiece On Letting Go—that is, right up until it explodes with ferocity and frenetic guitar work in the final two vibrant minutes.
On that note, Degeneraterra features captivating and confident guitar work throughout, with both tasteful tremolo picking and unpredictable syncopation a la El Cielo-era Dredg, as well as more ethereal sounds and soloing like Kaddisfly and Closure In Moscow. Additionally, the drumming is dynamic and impressive throughout; oftentimes sounding reminiscent of Coheed & Cambria’s Josh Eppard.
As is often the case with music in this vein of progressive rock and metal, the high-pitched vocals are a major centerpiece. Frontman Andrew Michael Wells wears his influences on his sleeves – and the legs of his skinny jeans. While he is very capable of matching his talented bandmates by measure of his varied capabilities, wide range, and general vocal command, Wells lacks the distinctiveness of the singers he imitates. Granted though, this is a minor quibble in the grand scheme of the fine music on display here.
Degeneraterra is the sound of a band gracefully growing out of its adolescent phase and absolutely blowing away what most bands are capable of with their sophomore album. The identity of Eidola as a cohesive unit will hopefully be to find a more distinct voice when it comes time for album number three.
As it stands now, significantly fewer bands are making high quality experimental and progressive rock in 2015 than they were in say 2005, as many of those bands who popularized the sound have either changed (for both good and ill) or are on hiatus. As such, Eidola’s Degeneraterra is a breath of fresh air and highly recommended for fans of what Dredg, Circa Survive, The Dear Hunter, and Thrice were doing 10 years ago.