By: Jeremiah Nelson

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Released on December 2, 2014 via Kaotoxin Records

An epic is, by definition, “a long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the history of a nation.” It can also mean something that is “particularly impressive or remarkable.” For this review we’re going to focus on the first definition because I believe that with Dead Insanity, Eye of Solitude has crafted an epic of truly classic proportions.

Eye of Solitude formed in 2010 out of the brain of the prolific Daniel Neagoe. They broke into the heavy music scene with their 2012 full-length Sui Caedere, a 10-track, 72-minute journey through the shadow of the valley of death. Last year they released Canto III that established the band as one of the great funeral doom bands of our time. Mixing ungodly low-pitched death metal vocals, atmospheric piano and strings, clean singing, and an absolutely perfect sense of pacing, they have continued to hone their craft. They are pushing new boundaries on Dear Insanity.

This EP is one track that runs 49:43 and that walks us down the path of someone’s descent into madness. The song tells this tale with such feeling that by the end, you are left wondering if you have been driven insane as well. You can almost break the song into separate acts. This is something that the band did for us on the Canto III. Here they leave each piece of the story attached to the next, creating one continual slide into depravity. The first piece is ambient noise and carries us past the 8-minute mark. Then a second, droning act begins that is punctuated by a biting guitar lead and Neagoe’s unearthly gutturals. At 17:44 there’s a small interlude, and then Act II continues until about the 22-minute mark. Act III begins, and this is where I began to feel unhinged. A piano and strings carry an atmospheric melody, with clean singing overlaid on top. We’re on the precipice.

At about 29:10 into Dead Insanity we reach Act IV. The guitars come back in and the piano continues to carry the sad melody from Act III. The piano eventually fades out. The pacing of the song changes ever so slightly at 31:46, and the piano comes back in at 33:40. Just past the 36-minute mark Act V begins. Everything fades to just the piano, and this is a moment of pure sadness. Our subject’s mind is completely gone, and you feel it. I couldn’t help but cry a bit here.

We’re almost done. Act VI punches you in the gut halfway into our 39th minute. The piano is still there, but the guitars come in with a memorable lead (complete with squeals!) and the growling vocals are just crushing. We’re on the finishing stretch, which of course means slow down and die slowly. This is funeral doom. There’s a quick fade-out to just piano and strings at 45:52, only to have the music punch back in with the kick drum at 46:26. Chugging guitars come in and then fade out, and we’re left with the depressing piano that ends us.

Dead Insanity is not an easy listen, nor is it one that I see myself returning to on a regular basis. It’s long, and damn is it heavy. I was left feeling suffocated, and yes, insane. I can’t say that the track is too long because I think that what the band is trying to do here works. If you’re not in the mood for it, though, you may lose interest. Personally, I love it. You may not. This EP is quite a work of art, but it’s definitely not a pleasant one. I applaud Eye of Solitude for taking a risk and releasing such an epic.

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