Review: A Sight For Sewn Eyes – S/T

10561734_10153311782635546_5016470817131664838_nIt’s been quite a while since we last heard from A Sight For Sewn Eyes. After completing the recording of their sophomore album back in the summer of 2014, the band went on a de facto hiatus as they temporarily stopped playing shows and updating their social media outlets. As the new year grew substantially less new, a few people – myself included – began to wonder whether the band had discreetly decided to throw in the towel. While ASFSE may not have fully fallen off the face of the Earth throughout this past year, they have certainly remained quiet.

Incidentally, “quiet” may be the least apt word in the English language for describing the latest batch of tunes from the Sewn Eyes Guys. Slated for a July 17th release, the Nova Scotian quintet’s self-titled sophomore effort ramps up the intensity that made 2012’s Alone Together such a memorable experience, further flaunting the sense of spontaneity that invariably permeates their songwriting. The first three tracks are pure, unbridled chaos, with the initial fifteen seconds of “Long Story Short” achieving a breakneck speed that’s usually reserved for bands like The Secret. Combined with some seriously subversive and sinister guitar melodies, the intro finds ASFSE flirting with death metal to an unprecedented extent – an undertaking that they delve into further on album closer “Cut the Loss”. A Sight For Sewn Eyes may be sweethearts in real life, but they can sound downright evil on this record at times.

While such forays are certainly interesting and help spice things up throughout the record’s half-hour runtime, the heart of ASFSE’s sound is undoubtedly their frantic, technical, awe-inspiring madness, which is built on a musical foundation that has been firmly established by mathcore forefathers such as A Textbook Tragedy, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch, and Hot Damn!-era Every Time I Die. This sensibility dominates the album’s first half, and while not a major departure from the group’s earlier material, this latest treatment stands out due to its sheer ferocity and relentlessness. Sewn Eyes sound more pissed off now than ever before, and they refuse to water down their sonic maelstrom with any of the crowd-pleasing gimmicks that have soared in popularity since the release of their debut.

That being said, they also know when to take their foot off the gas and let the listener breathe easy…..at least a little. The conclusion to “Dead Art” bleeds into a soft interlude that marks the LP’s midway point, eventually bursting into what is perhaps the record’s catchiest and most accessible riff. The serenity is relatively short-lived, however, as part two of the album quickly drags the audience back to hell, amplifying the cacophony to a level you didn’t know was possible. This extremity is offset by a helping of softer melodic passages, such as the spacey outro to “Worst of Friends”, and the entirety of “Birthmark”, which is a more introspective and digestible track that culminates in a rare guitar solo – one that’s tasteful enough to appease listeners who might normally be turned off by the cheese factor that soloing often entails. Melodic passages have long been an important component of the ASFSE sound, and the ones found on this new offering boast the same type of intrigue that made “Light Up” and “Burnt Out” such outstanding tracks on Alone Together.

If you liked any of Sewn Eyes’ previous material, you will love their new self-titled album. The energetic virtuosity that has animated the band since its inception is on full display here, pushed to new levels of exquisite pandemonium. Alternatively, if you’re new to the band or the mathcore sound in general, be prepared for a formidable record that makes zero attempts at sounding friendly or accessible. It may be a challenging listen at first, but if you give these songs the attention they demand, you’ll likely come away from the experience with a healthy understanding of why A Sight For Sewn Eyes are commonly considered one of Canada’s best and most underrated acts.

 

 

 

Did this review pique your interest? You can listen to “Colourless” from A Sight For Sewn Eyes’ new album here: http://exclaim.ca/Music/article/sight_for_sewn_eyes-colourless

…And can pre-order it here: http://www.maplemusic.com/product.asp?dept_id=4933&pf_id=4900-79&lang=EN

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