A giant and imposing slab of heavy metal

A few years back it seemed that Eye of the Enemy was everywhere on the local metal circuit, enjoying a pretty high profile as a live band with a string of name supports, even if their recorded output left something to be desired.

Their 2014 album The Vengeance Paradox was a somewhat generic, unimaginative volume with indistinguishable songs and flat, one-dimensional vocals. Much has changed since those days. Only two members of that version of Eye of the Enemy remain, and five years on this band has reinvented itself as a fire-breathing demon. The addition of Chris Themelco’s melodic nous has injected some real songwriting clout and Mitch Alexander brings some badly needed colour and shade to the vocalist role.

Eye of the Enemy have muscled up in every area, from overall heaviness and groove to the insidious melodies that spider throughout every track. The mournful piano that opens Clay establishes the dark, melancholy vibe that permeates through the course of Titan, even after being subdued by the urgent riffing from which rises Alexander’s chameleonic vocals. His voice carries the extra import that this band has perhaps lacked in the past, from a scathing howl and a deep roar to an almost croon, as the band rip through groove-laden thrash-tinged metalcore that owes more to the Killswitch Engage and Lamb of God school than the watered-down radio-friendly dross currently being imposed on us all; more than once, they nudge full-on melodic death metal.

The first four cuts blaze their way to the pinnacle of Stress and Colours, a giant track that emerges from an omnious clean but sombre opening, exploding into a surging riff with Alexander laying on a near-black metal shriek, then a melodic voice and then back as the band lays down its own switch-and-bait into a mid section that is an experiment in tension. Tabula Rasa build out of the long fade, a bridging track that segues into the surging Titan, where Eye of the Enemy nudge melodic death metal. Then comes Cinders, scorching through at thrash pace as the band stamp on the gas towards the savage one-two rounding out the album, the furious Abrasive Turns of Phrase, with Alexander sounding suitably caustic, and the stunningly sinister Hooks and Wires that capitalises on the strong current of darkness that flows through the album, delivering its best guitar solo and closing out with entwined melodic hooks.

Eye of the Enemy have unleashed a giant and imposing slab of melodic, groove-ridden heavy metal. Titan is suitably named.

  1. Clay
  2. Empire
  3. Of Blood and Wine
  4. Born of the Artists’ Decay
  5. Stress and Colours
  6. Tabla Rasa
  7. Titan
  8. Cinders
  9. Abrasive Turns of Phrase
  10. Hooks and Wires