Eidola couldn’t help themselves from picking at the low-hanging fruit with the depressingly disappointing Eviscerate.

Release date: April 12, 2024 | Rise Records | Facebook | Band Website

Eidola is one of those bands I vividly remember the time and place when I had discovered them, which in my case happened to be on the release day of Degeneraterra back in May of 2015 while I was in between classes during undergrad – an extremely transformative year for me for a multitude of reasons. Despite having heard just several minutes worth of material from them for the very first time, I was immediately compelled to ‘blindly’ purchase the record and to also tweet about it, both of which are things I never do. Their music at the time was unlike anything my young ears had heard that I even ‘broke character’ for a brief moment. Nostalgia set aside, that album (and the one preceding it) still remain incredibly special to me and even to those I shared it with back then. Fast forward three successive releases over the span of nearly a decade and this band has changed in a way that is extremely bittersweet.

I say bittersweet as Eidola is more successful than they’ve ever been and I am undeniably ecstatic for them, although that charm that drew me to their music has faded. Truth be told, that charm started to slowly wane with To Speak, to Listen and it is now almost non-existent on their latest effort, Eviscerate. Eidola had a unique bluesy/hard rock take on post-hardcore established with The Great Glass Elephant, one of those fine-wine type of records. That sound evolved into what is heard on Degeneraterra with Will Swan (Dance Gavin Dance) and Josh Benton (producer, ex-DGD) working behind the scenes of that album, naturally leading to a ‘swanification’ of their sound.

Despite having this subtle swancore influence on Degeneraterra, Eidola was able to retain that bluesy musical musk and crafted something that was far removed from anything else also labeled ‘swancore’ – it was special solely because that originality and balance was there. Dabbling in swancore is a slippery slope considering how rabid fans of the Will Swan-inspired style can be; the mere existence of this sub-subgenre is testament to that. Understandably, Eidola have latched onto the success that comes with trying to replicate Will Swan/DGD’s magic, thus rapidly accelerating down this hypothetical slope at the cost of losing what made them special to begin with.

The gradual loss of character in their songs started with To Speak, to Listen, became more prominent on The Architect, and is now cemented with Eviscerate. This new album shows the band taking a much heavier approach compared to anything they’ve done before, causing it to be more on the metalcore side of things with plenty of djent/math rock influence. While it seems that the band tries to fit as much music as possible into the least amount of time, the songs are incredibly concise, yet as formulaic as they come. I’d never thought Eidola of all bands would turn into yet another pseudo-prog-metalcore band heavily abusing the ‘verse / chorus/ verse / chorus / bridge / chorus’ format for almost an entire record, and this is an absolute tragedy considering what where they once came from.

What made their earlier records special was their ability to arrange a balanced tracklist, filled with longer pieces containing organically winding song structures or others that were short and sweet. This made it effortless to leave the listener fully engrossed in the music as it beautifully complemented the complex story being told while allowing for plenty of time to digest all that’s going on. They knew when to dial it back for a moment, allowing for the instrumentals to breath and the listener to reflect on what’s transpire thus far before proceeding into the next movement.

With Eviscerate, there is little to no variety in how the songs are paced, resulting in these musical whirlwinds that fail to leave any lasting impression with how unnecessarily dense and complex the instrumentals are. The spiritual journey being told through the lyrics isn’t supported by the music whatsoever, causing these lyrics to be disconnected over this chaotic instrumental backdrop. I want to make it clear that this has nothing to do with the album simply being heavy, but rather everything to do with the songs just not being interesting as they have little going for them other than being catchy and ‘noodly/chuggy guitar go brrrr’. I know I’ve said this in a previous review (although I don’t remember which one), but with each passing day I find myself relating more and more to that controversial Steven Wilson quote (‘I’d rather hear Dave Gilmour playing one note and break my heart, than hearing Joe Satriani playing 300 notes and not touch me in any way at all’). That couldn’t be any truer than it is here.

It will always baffle me that Eidola once put out tracks that developed and released so much tension in how they constantly evolved, as heard in “The Golden Rule Is There Is No Golden Rule” leading into “Ours” or “Contra: Second Temple” for example, to derivative chugfests like in “The Weight of Sin”, “Fistful of Hornets”, and “God Takes Away Everything” for starters. “Golgotha Compendium: Fifth Temple” was the first track to finally pique my interest as it showed some semblance of the Eidola I fell in love with back in the day with how it transported you to a different realm with its mysteriously sinister nature; it’s a shame it had to finally happen at the end of this record.

While the instrumentation fails to leave a single lasting impression on me on an emotional level, it is really impressive from a technical standpoint. The wicked fast guitar leads that linger in the background nearly at all points through “No Weapon Formed Shall Prosper” goes insanely hard (Sergio Medina isn’t human). Vocally, Andrew Wells clearly challenges himself at many points throughout the record, putting on a widely versatile performance worthy of praise, despite a few questionable moments here and there (such as that oddly gritty vocal passage in the back half of “God Takes Away Everything”). The choruses to “A Bridge Of Iron And Blood” and “Who Of You Will Persevere?”, and constant back-and-forth with fellow guitarist/vocalist Matthew Dommer make for a pleasant listen indeed. All in all, Eviscerate is an astonishingly tight showing from all members of the band from an execution perspective, unfortunately all the effort went into a flashy performances instead of properly fleshed out tracks.

Eviscerate as a whole is just fine, and with the current landscape of music that is endlessly exploding with excellent releases, a ‘just fine’ record is one that doesn’t provide a reason to be revisited much, if at all. If you’re here solely for the riffs and infectious vocal melodies, you’ll find them aplenty here. But if you understandably came expecting the Eidola-special, that being an utterly profound record that is philosophical in its lyrics, compositions, and soundscapes, you’ll be left wanting. There is not enough time in the world to spend listening to music that fails to resonate with me (or you), no matter how much we may want it to. Let’s just hope that the companion piece titled Mend, slated for release later this year, doesn’t suffer from the same vital flaws. I’ve learned with this record that it isn’t worth holding my breath.


  • OAFCORE says:

    I wonder how many spins the reviewer gave this album before penning their thoughts? It is indeed an incredibly dense record and thus requires several listens to fully absorb everything. While the sentiments of the Wilson quote are apt here, one could say the same about overly complicated song structure and the irony is clearly lost on the reviewer. I for a one applaud Eidola for their concise tracks and more formulaic structure on this album. Maybe they’ve lost their “prog” label as a result, but with the density of instrumentation a strong backbone is needed. While I probably prefer Degeneraterra as a whole, it tends to meddle and linger unnecessarily. Eviscerate gets straight to the meat and potatoes while still giving you plenty to chew on. It’s not often bands get heavier with time and Eidola also deserves praise for their evolution. Eviscerate is undeniably the Eidola sound, but with a new energy we haven’t seen from them. A different path and certainly not without critique, but far from “depressingly disappointing”.

    • JP Pallais says:

      Hey there, thank you for your thoughtful comment and insight!

      For starters, I had made sure to listen to this record at least fifteen times, especially when it ended up being a ‘controversial’ opinion as this; I wanted to do my due diligence on that and it wasn’t intentional, I swear. This isn’t coming from a single listen, I hoped that the amount of detail that the review went into would suggest that. Anyways, I definitely agree that this type of instrumentation requires a concise structural backbone, as it takes a very special type of band to be able to make that work alongside crazy, winding song structures without completely losing the listener. It can be done, but it is a dime a dozen. Despite all that, yes, the music works and sounds great and is executed in a masterful manner (and is clearly successful), but I never felt a deeper connection or anything that resembled any meditative-like musical qualities as they’ve shown beforehand; THAT is what lost me. Eviscerate certainly still sounds like Eidola, hard not to when the band is mostly the same and all the band members are at the peak of their technical game. They do this type of music better than a lot of bands that have been doing it for a long time. But it wasn’t the sound change that lost me but rather the fact that they did ‘little’ with it; that ‘little’ is subjective of course.

      I personally really liked those over-meandering type sections from Degeneraterra and TGGE, as it complemented the spiritual nature of the music, allowing the listener some time to reflect on the movements that had just transpired before proceeding to the next one. That metaphysical nature of the songs themselves, all on top of the deeply reflective lyrics was what drew me to their music in the first place. Apart from the lyrics, there was nothing that felt spiritual/metaphysical musically on Eviscerate. That disconnect is what did it for me personally. Just a cycle of riffs, choruses, and breakdowns with the occasional softer section thrown in here and there. Note that I am just a single person and this is one opinion so in the grand scheme of things, what I (or anyone) thinks doesn’t matter. The world would be boring if everyone had the same opinion about everything. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I enjoy this type of productive discourse!

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