Angel Eyes – Midwestern LP
The Mylene Sheath
Angel Eyes are a band from Chicago that has been kicking around for about seven years now. This is their fifth release and their first for The Mylene Sheath.
Angel Eyes play music that blends post-rock with a bit of sludge and doom and even a bit of post-metal thrown into the mix. The best way I can describe the band is post-apocalyptic post-rock with vocals. The guitars mix some sludgy riffs with some more traditional atonal post-rock riffs that form these thick layers of varied and emotive sounds. Throw in some keyboards for added ambiance and what you get is some really dark, somber, atmospheric music. The sparse vocals are harsh and screamed in a style like Orchid, early Racebannon, or Curl Up and Die but just a little lower in the mix and with a more enunciation in the delivery. The lyrics themselves are pretty bleak and depressing which is usually the makings for some of the best songs in my opinion.
The EP contains four songs that are very long and very complex. Each track is like an EP unto itself as the songs are full of so many tempo changes, mood changes and layers that it will take you multiple listens to dissect each one. When things go quiet the band can be almost eerie and when they open up they really show a powerful side too. While the vocals may be an acquired taste to some, I found them immediately palatable. A more accessible singing voice actually would be a disservice to this style of dark music. The four epic songs complement each other so nicely that I will likely never listen to this record in any other way than in its complete form from beginning to end.
The album comes on colored vinyl (in this case gold and limited to 300 copies) and is a single LP that plays at 33rpm. It was mastered by Bob Weston who has been doing a bang-up job on all the Dischord remasters recently and he did this Angel Eyes record justice as well as it has a great warm sound. The production is a tad bit on the muddy side but that is likely by design and fits their style of music nicely. The record comes housed in a gatefold sleeve with color printing. The dark brown and gold inks and adorning artwork perfectly match the feel of the music and is something that wouldn’t have translated as well in a smaller form for a CD. Inside the gatefold sleeve is liner notes and the lyrics to all the songs. It is a really nicely put together package from a label who has become known for some of the highest quality vinyl packages around in recent years.
Keeping with tradition, The Mylene Sheath once again branches out from the sound the label is known for and hits another one out of the park. Hopefully the band and label will follow this up with another release in the future as this record definitely left me wanting more.