The recent heatwave that has clobbered us the first week of summer looks finally to be subsiding after a round of thrashing storms have rocked us and finally seem to be hinting at cooler weather. It’s hardly the worst problem we’ve had in 2020; it probably ranks somewhere near 5 millionth. But the actual wrath of nature weighing down provides relief but also reminds of a power and majesty we can’t battle.
Taking on “Ligeia” the third full-length from mind-warping progressive metal machine Eye of Nix is almost like standing in the eye of the storm, trying to figure out which way you’ll be forced. Named after one of the sirens in Greek mythology that lured sailors to their demise, the record has its moments of dark seduction that pull you into devastating waves that leave you up to your chin and sinking fast. The band visits subject matter such as obsession, addiction, and illusion, and that colors an adventure that runs the gamut of emotion and sounds as the band opens up its borders deeper than ever before. Out front is vocalist/guitarist Joy Von Spain, whose voice is a powerhouse, going from guttural growls and shrieks to atmospheric operatics, often within the same line. She’s joined by guitarist Nicholas Martinez, bassist Zach Wise, sound designer Masaaki Masao, and drummer Luke LaPlante on a record that drives their sound into the deepest, darkest waters, where no one can see or find you.
“Concealing Waters” starts the record with calming trickles as Von Spain’s singing spills into progressive winds. Her vocals sweep before corroding into shrieks as the propulsive pace blends into gothy seas of ink, and then calm mixes in while cold winds close the doors. “Pursued” unloads hammers right away as Von Spain growls menacingly before ripping into fierce shrieks. The guitars churn while Von Spain hits operatic register as the low end mauls hard, the pace mashes, and the track ends in ashes. “Tempest” begins in black metal elegance while the synth stretches and the music smashes. Von Spain’s powerful voices reaches into the stratosphere as a murky gaze covers the ground, the singing fills the senses, and the final moments quake. “Stranded” opens in an acoustic wash as the singing reaches higher before whispers chill. Then the middle rips open and guts are exposed, while Von Spain delivers feral growls, and the music is situated in nasty savagery. The elements crash down to the earth, pounding away while the basslines cut their way right to your heart.
“Keres” is a blinding blast that destroys you before you know what hit you. The drums disrupt, a doomy pall crunches bones, and finally noise rises and drags this instrumental piece into the underworld. The title track follows and opens in a New Wave-style adventure into darkness, as Von Spain’s singing goes breezier and atmospheric. The singing floods before growls chew at your rib cage while terror bubbles underneath it. That leads to fog collecting and thickening before dissolving into static. “Adrift” ushers in melting guitars while waves crash down, and its reaches its tempo slowly. Vocals float into synth waves while coldness takes hold, and that leads into the mystical. The playing ebbs and flows, and it feels like a sea breeze coating your face with a late-afternoon coolness. “Stone & Fury” closes the record, and it’s the longest track, running 9:12. Clean guitars greet you before the punches are thrown, and Von Spain reaches into the stars. That leads to a brief run of serenity, as Von Spain calls out before her cries turn desperate as the pace boils. There’s a burst on the other side as growls lurch, and the pace bleeds and fires dangerously. That intensity never loses its fire as it piledrives into the final moments burning away.
Eye of Nix are one of the most distinctive bands in heavy music, and they’ve been doing interesting, thought-provoking things that peak on “Ligeia.” Von Spain’s astonishing voice remains the center point of this group’s riveting music, and the band surrounds her siren with music that feels like you’re being swallowed into a heavy storm that threatens your well-being. This band continues to grow and excel in ways that make their future almost as exciting as their devastating present state.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/EYEOFNIX/
To buy the album, go here: https://prophecy.lnk.to/eye-of-nix-ligeia
For more on the label, go here: https://en.prophecy.de/