The Exploding Eyes Orchestra
12th June 2015 – Svart Records
01 – The Smoke
02. Crazy Heart
03. My Father The Wolf
04. Drawing Down The West
05. Two-Zero 13
06. Black Hound
07. Farewell To All-In-One
Occult rock has seen someone what of a resurgence these past few years. With heavy hitters like the ever-mysterious Ghost, right down to the marvellous Christian Mistress, this spectre of haunting blues rock blended with magickal lyrics has made for an interesting breath of fresh air into a genre that was started way back in the 60′s by the likes of Black Sabbath and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown.
Fully ingrained in this new wave, and formed from five of the seven members of Jess And The Ancient Ones, comes The Exploding Eyes Orchestra and their new album I.
From the intro of “The Smoke“, it’s clear what this band are about. Set aside the bravado and expectations you’d expect from their main body of work: the result is unabashed and focused on groove over everything else. This is down, in the main, to guitarist Thomas Corpse and vocalist Jess, whose commanding presence looms over these offerings like a deity awaiting a sacrifice. From the organ-lead chaos of the opener into the hazy “Crazy Heart“; a pensive jaunt moving into a slower and more intimate offering. The passion oozes from this latter track in buckets, with thoughtful guitar licks and brass instrumentation stirring the soul into halcyonic wistfulness
“Drawing Down The West” brings a more sombre tone to the proceedings, but make no mistake: this is no self pitying free fall into some contrived depression. From its more melancholic beginnings, it ebbs and flows into a dual guitar, blues-soaked riff fest that takes on a different kind of intensity through the spacey psychedelia of “Two-Zero 13” and into the monolithic venerability of “Black Hound”. With lines from H.P Lovecraft’s The Hound stirred in amongst the haunting atmospherics, it feels positively ancient. Harmonicas interject the bass-driven undercurrents delivered on the backs on tinkering piano retorts, with Jess’ vocal adding soulful exuberance and a level of sexiness to this carefully crafted performance.
Our finisher comes in the form of “Farewell To All-In-One“. It takes some time to really bloom, but when it does it becomes a lament of lost love and last goodbyes. This is nothing but raw emotion being poured from the heart. Its cinematic quality lends itself to the understated drama that the Orchestra have in abundance, with heart and soul trickling into every expanse. This last hurrah is nothing but pure passion.
Whilst The Exploding Eyes Orchestra are only an off-shoot of something bigger, they’ve become in many ways something greater with this release. Jess’s haunting and at times lamented vocal carries this record from strength to strength, and with a band behind her like these guys it makes the whole experience ever more enjoyable. This album has a quality about it that, for me, the The Ancient Ones never had. I hope that they continue to explore this depth of talent because they could be well on their way to world domination.