JOSH MORAN (Guitar, Vocals, Cello)
ALEX SMITH (Guitar, Backing Vocals)
GRIM RILEY (Bass)
CHRIS KUDUKEY (Drums)
MARK RICHARDSON (Keyboards)
Longing to discover what lies beyond, through the pain, misery, and beauty that are universal to human existence. It is eventually essential to face one’s own thoughts and emotions directly.
Vacant Eyes, with their forthcoming studio album, A Somber Preclusion of Being, aim to be a catalyst to explore our most sorrowful moments and contemplate our deepest and most personal questions. Expanding upon the melodic funeral death/doom metal sound of 2014’s The Dim Light of Introversion EP, the band moves ever forward, arriving at a sound that is more progressive, creating even more dynamic and varied arrangements, though not losing sight of its roots.
Originally founded in 2011 by Josh Moran (Guitar / Vocals) as a solo project, the desire to take the music into a live setting led to a full band forming in 2013. The current line-up includes Moran along with Alex Smith (Guitar/Backing Vocals), Grim Riley (Bass), Chris Kudukey (Drums), and Mark Richardson (Keyboard), all of whom contribute to the creative processes.
The new release was mastered by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia, Dark Tranquillity, et al.) at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden, and recorded and with sound engineer Brian Westbrook at Sonic Titan Studios in the band’s home state of Massachusetts, USA. The new Vacant Eyes album finds the extreme metal outfit dedicating themselves to boundlessly crafting their own brand of heavy music, cloaked in themes of non-existence, despair, loss, and seeking truths often left unspoken. “I find a certain beauty in depression and darkness. It’s as real as it gets, and I have the utmost respect for it,” Moran, the band’s lyricist and main songwriter, explained.
A Somber Preclusion of Being opens with the vast, nearly 17-minute track “A Colorless Eternity,” which sets the tone for the album with its heavy, driving rhythm, melancholic and introspective lead guitar lines, choral keyboards, and pounding, often mid-tempo drums. The album leads the listener through a diverse sequence of passages, which seamlessly shift in range from the delicateness of heartbreaking solo piano to full-on metal bore with growled death vocals and distorted guitars, all with a palpable emotional grip. It closes with the funeral doom-laden “Into an Empty Dream,” ending with a tinge of resolution, utilizing three guitars to form a strong melody, counter-part harmony, and decimating rhythm to elicit a somber feeling of intensity, perhaps alluding to finding the will to accept and make peace with embracing the unknown of what is to come.
In regards to the band, Dead Rhetoric said, “Vacant Eyes as a unit understand that you can still be engaging at a plodding pace, and keep building the arrangements in elegance, grace, and sophistication through subtle magnification,” and describes the band’s scope as spanning “From slow, sorrowful melodies drenched with emotion, to heavier, more up-tempo movements…” Metal Injection has featured the band in their Funeral Doom Friday series, and described the band as having “all the hallmarks of funeral doom-type bands like Clouds and Swallow The Sun, yet the melodic sensibilities of bands like Insomnium.”
Having performed at a host of venues around New England, including festival appearances at Anticosmic Music, multiple iterations of RPM Fest, and Stoned to Death, Vacant Eyes are quite accustomed to playing in a live setting. The group always takes the stage with the full band in addition to a third guitarist to faithfully recreate the musical vision of their recorded work. Their performances, while sometimes conjuring a visceral, physical reaction from those in attendance, often evoke an air of reverence and introspection, sometimes moving those taking in the music to tears. The band hopes to tour following the release of the album.
Meanwhile, amidst preparing for this release, Vacant Eyes have already begun work on their next songs. Their goal is always to evolve, always to be free in their songwriting, to look into the ether, and to capture the essence of anguish.