I discovered the Swedish Eyes Wide Open when they played their very first Finnish gig as support of the brand new supergroup Cyhra. In a way not too surprising that they tagged along with this new band, for 2 reasons: Cyhra is mostly Swedish as well and holds a few ex-members of In Flames. And it’s especially that last feature that might come back a few times in this article… Because Eyes Wide Open very much sounds like In Flames during the Come Clarity period, a much welcome discovery in other words since I’m a huge fan of In Flames of back then. After the show I went to have a chat with vocalist Erik and very quickly I received a promotional copy of their latest release And So It Begins, so here we are with my thoughts about their work…
Right from the start they kick in with that all too familiar melodic death metal/modern metal sound In Flames got so big with on Death of Technology. A touch of electronics, groovy guitar riffs (with of course an awesome solo moment), with the raspy voice of Erik, combined with some impressive clean singing in the chorus, all blended into a catchy ride. Immediately I was drawn into the album with its soaring sound and it literally didn’t let me go for a second until the last notes died out. Defining Me and Fist Up continue down this lane, with the latter one being an excruciating heavy piece of high paced metal. For me an absolute live song that’ll create massive battles in the moshpit and where the crowd can shout along to “Put your fist up!”.
With We Reached for the Sky they take down the heaviness and tempo a bit, but that doesn’t mean that the songs aren’t interesting and captivating anymore. That track is a really heartfelt heavy ballad that absolutely soars with amazing vocals from Erik. Scream goes much the same path with a calmly voiced Erik until he actually screams. The opposites combined with great melodies and guitar riffs makes this one hell of a groovy song, and it actually builds up towards a true explosion of screaming and metal, still holding on to that melody. A really cool song that shows how skilled these guys are in building up songs. The next song might scare away some of you with a sound that could’ve just as well been from In Flames‘ or even Sonic Syndicate‘s latest album with a very heavily electronic music infused with an almost poppy sounding track. You Still Are You manages to hold on to the earlier energy though, with Erik still throwing in some pretty decent screams and great guitar work yet again.
If You Still Are You made you worried about getting too much of that, get ready for songs like The Last of Us (a tribute to the much praised video game of the same name), Never Meant to be Heaven and Conclusion. All of these tracks could perfectly have been from that era in which In Flames managed to combine the harshness of death metal with beautiful melodies to perfect that modern metal sound so many of us love.
Eyes Wide Open delivered a great album with And So It Begins in my humble opinion. It brings that classic In Flames, Soilwork,… sound to perfection without sounding like complete copycats. Yeah, it sounds very much like the earlier mentioned bands, but still with their own touch to it. Quite some of the songs will easily get stuck in your head and I see this band still growing into possibly one of the “big” names if they continue to deliver this kind of quality!
Release date: September 1st, 2017
Label: Headbang Entertainment
1. Death of Technology
2. Defining Me
3. Fist Up
4. We Reached for the Sky
6. You Still Are You
7. The Last of Us
8. Never Meant to Be Heaven
9. Walking with the Devil
11. And so It Begins
In the meantime the guys already released a brand new song called Fire is the Solution and it proves that they’re not going to disappoint us any bit. The song immediately opens heavy and strong with Erik screaming his emotions and lungs out and the composition and structure of the song is just spot on again.