Artist: Eyes Wired Shut
Album: Demons – EP
Ears: sealed. Nostrils: plugged. Mouth: stapled. You lie in darkness, robbed of your senses, unable to feel, think or speak—your only company comes to you in the forms of your greatest fears, worries and torments. Your demons are all you have to keep you warm in this cold, barren state of sensory deprived despair. Without warning, silencing the voices speaking of murder and loneliness—a bolt of pain shoots from the top of your head to the tip of your toes; the first feeling you can remember having in days, so sweet you almost savor it. This pain is the unique heaviness—the off-the-wall brutality—of Demons, the latest EP from Westchester warriors Eyes Wired Shut. Combining intense, precarious technicality with ruthless aggression, Demons is an experience as sweet as sunshine, but as punishing as the piercing pain of nine inch nails driven through your eyelids. Demons is the type of agony the listener will wish could last forever.
It isn’t the immediate sharp stab, nor the lingering dull burn that makes Demons such a uniquely lacerating listen—rather it’s the combination of the two, coming together in dialectic harmony that defines Eyes Wired Shut’s sophomore release. Imagine the instrumentation that defines Demons as a Janus-like deity. One face is a face of bold, brazen hardcore-influenced brutality. This is exemplified by Connor Warren’s drumming. Opting away from deathcore’s stereotypical hyper-speed blast beats and tuned-too-tight snare tone, Warren is a master of intriguing, atypical patterns and catchy, what-the-hell-was-that fill work. Take, for example, “Parental Contempt,” which casts down traditional blast beats, instead using equally fast and punishing patterns that serve as an indicative archetype of the EP’s uniqueness. What of Eyes Wired Shut’s figurative other face? This is one defined by an equal combination of doom and sludge metal with technical death metal and deathcore frills adorning it—manifesting itself in the form of Robert Muller’s guitar and Esteban Rivera’s bass work. Together, these two unleash nothing less than the purest form of mayhem technical deathcore has seen in 2014. “Demons” is practically defined by the frantic fretwork and unstoppable energy that Muller brings to the table, while “Hara Kiri” has a strong, beefy bass tone and over-the-top levels of grime-laden groove that set it apart from the remainder of the EP’s atmosphere. It is the combination of bold blows from Warren’s percussion and sharp, deep cuts from Muller’s fretboard that make Demons the experience it truly is.
But all of the pain—the physical agony and pools of spilled blood—is nothing but a distraction from Eyes Wired Shut’s sinister psychological torment. The voices haunting your head—specifically a voice, the voice of Ethan Chaikin. Chaikin brings a unique sort of mesmerizing evil to Demons that nearly defies description. Every shout, scream, bellow and gurgle Chaikin lets loose perfectly matches the instrumental atmosphere surrounding it. When Warren won’t slow down on “Parental Contempt,” Chaikin is right there with him. When Muller and Rivera are cutting deep and fast on “Demons,” Chaikin’s voice is the salt in the wound. What’s more is the company Chaikin chooses to keep further plays up his vocal prowess. The appearances of two enormously talented guest vocalists makes the most of Chaikin’s crushing range and cruel tone, figuratively kicking the listener while they’re down, rubbing their nose in the piles of filth and sewage that Eyes Wired Shut have practically buried them in.
But why check out another technical deathcore band? Well—if Chaikin’s incredible vocals on their own doesn’t pique your interest, and if Eyes Wired Shut’s gruesome instrumentation doesn’t spark your curiosity, then let the combination of the two draw you in. Simply put, Eyes Wired Shut’s combination of technical instrumentation, raw song structure and heavier-than-a-house breakdowns is as immersive as it is intense (and it is very intense). “Parental Contempt” is a series of groove-tinted bone-busting breakdowns that will bring in fans of low, slow down-tempo deathcore—while “Demons” is a fierce and technical diddy that is sure to appeal to keepers of the shred across the globe. In such a brief run-time, Eyes Wired Shut provide a dynamic and diverse experience that refuses to stagnate, defies boredom and demands the listener’s constant respect and attention.
Bound, captive and hopeless, you are at the precipice of your doom. If the only think you could hear, experience and feel for the rest of your tortured existence was Eyes Wired Shut’s Demons—well, maybe things wouldn’t be so bad. A thoroughly original onslaught, Demons is the sound of your sanity disintegrating, surrendering your mind of a maelstrom of murderous malevolence.
For Fans Of: Thy Art is Murder, Aversions Crown, Float Face Down, Borderlines
By: Connor Welsh