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Vintage Flesh - "The Eyes That Glared At My Agonies" (CD)

Vintage Flesh - "The Eyes That Glared At My Agonies" CD cover image

"The Eyes That Glared At My Agonies" track listing:

1. Malleus Malificarium (2:47)
2. Corpse As My Cabin (5:52)
3. Portals Of Confusion (5:54)
4. For The Spirit That Walks In Shadow (3:36)
5. 1635 (4:15)
6. To Silence The Laughter (8:21)
7. The Eyes That Glared At My Agonies (2:31)
8. Waiting For A Body (6:56)
9. Tower Of Disdain (4:05)
10. Corpse As My Cabin II (2:40)

Reviewed by on July 25, 2010

"Not everyone is going to dig the direction of the vocals, but anyone who can handle an over the top approach to black metal should give 'The Eyes that Glared at my Agonies' a proper chance to crush their spirit."

Vintage Flesh was the perfect name to choose for this band, as the music fits the moniker like an old glove made of flayed human skin. In turns atmospheric, Gothic, heavy, and evil, “The Eyes that Glared at my Agonies” has the depressing and ghastly feel that sets black metal apart from the rest. While it has a few issues that won’t appeal to everyone, the overall effect of the album is to set the listener in a suicidal realm of despair with no hope of escape.

“The Eyes that Glared at my Agonies” is really like two albums in one. There are the long instrumental segments, and then the full-on evil black metal segments. Each instrumental piece is cleverly arranged and has enough going on to make it just as interesting as the heavier parts, and in many cases even more so. A light crackle is always kept up in the background of the more mellow parts, making the music feel ancient and dark.

The shrieking black metal segments use two different vocal styles, and they are likely to be the main cause of discontent for anyone. High pitched shrieks frequently ring out of the darkness, as it should on any self-respecting black metal album, but they have a bit of a twist. Everything about Vintage Flesh tries to keep up a certain tone, and that leads the vocals to be a little over the top. The screams frequently leave behind the sound that black metal fans know and love, and instead go into an odd pitch that brings to mind an old hag out in the woods, waiting for unsuspecting children of course. It’s an odd sound to say the least, and it’s certain that some will love it and some won’t be able to stand it.

There are also a series of clean vocals that are equally over the top in an attempt to invoke sadness. For the most part they work well, feeling slightly operatic and epic, but it’s another case of differing tastes. It is a bit cheesy and off key, so some may find it to be off-putting instead of intriguing.

The vast majority of the album will keep the fans of black metal paying attention for its whole run time, but the album does also have a few really stand out moments. “1635” switches gears in the guitar department without warning, using a more straightforward and classic tone that give the song a huge amount of contrast. The atmospheric opening to “Waiting for a Body” is another stellar moment, bringing to mind a more black metal version of the psychedelic Tiamat songs.

Not everyone is going to dig the direction of the vocals, but anyone who can handle an over the top approach to black metal should give “The Eyes that Glared at my Agonies” a proper chance to crush their spirit.

Highs: Intstrumental interludes are given equal consideration and aren't just filler, and the overall atmosphere of the album is perfect.

Lows: The over the top vocal work is definitely an acquired taste.

Bottom line: The vocals are a bit over the top on this atmospheric black metal release, but the overall feel and excellent instrumental parts are well worth it.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)