Through My Eyes 'Victoria' Independent Music Review

Underground Examinations: Victoria

Through My Eyes

Release Date: April 20, 2014
Studio: Self-recorded, produced and mixed
Genre: Deathcore/Metal/Metalcore/Progressive
For Fans of: Tesseract, Betraying the Martyrs, The Contortionist, Born of Osiris, Periphery, The Plot in You

Out of Batavia, Illinois comes the poundingly heavy and indignantly dark sound that Through My Eyes have cultivated for themselves over the past four years. Self-described as symphonic deathcore, there are indeed orchestral elements laced throughout the contemporary hard music production on the band s debut full length, Victoria. Along with their catalog of releases, the band members are no strangers to the local scene.

Regularly performing throughout northern Illinois and occasionally embarking on tours, these efforts have helped the band earn the respect of nearly 4,000 Facebook fans on a global scale. The band s latest musical effort, Victoria, is eight songs of smashing but delicately woven melodic deathcore, with influences from a host of other metal sub-genres.

The band favors downtuning and thick, chunky production. They take an angle on phrasings and riffs that seems to highlight the extremes of the creative spectrum of deathcore and metalcore.

On He Whose Slaves We Are and Edict Of Diocletian, the band hits the ground running with scathing instrumental brawn, leaving nothing standing as they bring every sonic structure to the ground. Through My Eyes incorporates breakdowns into their songs, but not to an exorbitant degree, which is to their credit.

At times, the band falters between composing authentically creative riffs and relying too much on the rhythmic responsibilities of drums and bass guitar. Drummer Josh Kanute keeps his fills varied and dynamic, which strengthens the band s breed of deathcore.

Bassist Colin Vass lays down his lines with ease, ensuring that the band s low end is as beefy as need be. Guitarists Mike Gans and Bryan Haake execute their riffs interchangeably well, and only impress the listener more as the album proceeds.

While the majority of riffs they write remain within the realm of orchestrally-tinged deathcore and metal, the breakdowns sometimes border on djent. This is partially due to the production of the album, but Through My Eyes tuning of choice is about as low as can be comprehended for the style of music they are aiming for.

When Gans and Haake climb into the higher registers for more intricate guitar work, this only adds to the quality of their craft. On the vocal front, Alex Byrne showcases a wide range of vocal styles, including everything from high-pitched pleas and clean singing to truly guttural lows.

Through My Eyes weaves gentle and floating melodic lines from piano and strings into the fury and aggression that pours out from every other corner of the band. This technique in composition instantly creates contrast in their sound, causing the listener to hear multiple emotions at once.

The electronically generated string instruments and piano, while quite pleasant on their own, produce a slightly haunting, melodic effect when coupled with Through My Eyes metal riffs.

Through My Eyes

The first half of the album comes to a close with The Malfaisant, perhaps the band s most unrelenting track thus far on the journey of Victoria. The song opens up with straightforward blast beats from Kanute as the band fully opens up and continues to deliver more of the riffs they are best at: punchy, staccato rhythmic patterns stretched out alongside melodies of orchestral aim. The Malfaisant ends with a bulky, well-planned breakdown.

A Votuus is a sterling example of Byrne s vocal skillfulness as well as his tendencies.

He often couples his Earth-deep growls with his high-reaching screams, giving way to a very monster-like effect. Many bands that play metal attempt this, and most can pull it off, but Byrne does so with a surprisingly distinct quality. Byrne pours every ounce of energy and passion into his vocals, and it shows.

Nearing the end of Victoria, Gallows Hill is an impressive track, certainly one that must be pointed to when one is referencing the band s better songs.

Byrne interjects a few phrases of clean vocals on this song that do feel out of place, however. The bittersweet tonality that he uses does not seem to carry that section of the song forward.

By the time the listener reaches The Scourge, too many of Through My Eyes riffs throughout Victoria have struck one as similar, and it is easy to close the album out feeling exhausted. The band appears to write fairly complex riffs that are worth listening to and appreciating, but something about the tempos they choose combined with lower tunings distorts and muddles their passages, beyond the fact that they are playing metal-infused deathcore.

Title track Victoria is both a change of pace and somewhat of a breath of fresh air, as Gans and Haake offer up some of the entire album s most genuinely melodic material.

The entire band also pushes the capabilities of their talent to the very top, writing and performing what is very likely Victoria s most complex song, rhythmically and otherwise. At over 11 minutes long, the title track is a complete marathon, but is easily the band s most powerful and pronounced song on this release.

Through My Eyes accomplishes a lot in their music. They push the boundaries a bit more than most of their peers, particularly among local bands, and the future seems to be bright for this quintet.

The band is also known to have a high-energy live performance, aiding them in solidifying a reputation that will hopefully continue to propel them further. Having wrapped up a nearly two-week summer tour this year, do not be surprised if you start hearing their name more and more among the metal and hardcore scenes.

Through My Eyes has written and recorded a sonically audacious and skillfully diverse album in Victoria, and have improved massively since 2010. The band has consistently proven themselves in the greater Chicagoland heavy music scene and will continue playing music until they physically cannot do so.

Check out their Bandcamp page, YouTube channel and Facebook page below.

Underground Examinations is a series of Independent Music Reviews with the intention of giving new music a fair and appropriate opportunity to be enjoyed.

Review by Brad Johnson






  1. ^ Victoria (
  2. ^ Through My Eyes Videos (
  3. ^ Through My Eyes (
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Harry Partch how Heiner Goebbels bought Delusion of the Fury to …

American composer Harry Partch (1901-1974) had a musical vision for which 12-toned instruments were not enough. His objection to the standard western classical scale wasn t so much along the philosophical lines of Schoenberg and other early 20th-century atonalists; he was mainly frustrated by the musical limitations of the equal-tempered octave, so devised a system that split the octave into 43 notes instead.

Partch s masterpiece is the bizarre 1960s music drama Delusion of the Fury. It is outlandish and magnificent and it spits you out wanting to dive back in and experience the whole strange thing again.

And if it is hardly ever staged that s because it can t be: it requires its very own orchestra of hand-built instruments, each one specially invented by Partch to play his unique microtonal music.

Even the names of the instruments are little poems in themselves: Eucal Blossom, Zymo-Xyl, Quadrangularis Reversum, Castor & Polux, Spoils of War. There are closely-tuned glass gongs and thin sheets of metal which, when tugged by strings, make loud wobbly noises. The Chromelodeon is a sort of harmonium that produces a mellow thrum.

The heavy bass of the Marimba Eroica hits you first in the stomach then in the head, like a big wooden subwoofer. A zither-ish instrument plays a recurring spaghetti-western figure glimmers of Partch s childhood in remote Arizona, like heat-haze on a long horizon.

There is more to these instruments than wild names and weird sounds. What s surprising is how, well, tonal his music often ends up sounding.

For me it s early pop music, says composer and director Heiner Goebbels, whose extraordinary production of Delusion of the Fury comes to the Edinburgh International Festival this week. It is a crazy dream grounded in solid rhythms and harmonies. It sounds like the experiments of the late Beatles and Beach Boys.

As much as it is accessible, it is also impossible to grasp. Like any good artwork it is vague and enigmatic, yet at the same time instantly touching. The whole thing is magnetic.

It draws you in and transports you to a different planet.

Delusion of the Fury by Harry Partch directed by Heiner Goebbels with MusikFabrik.Delusion of the Fury by Harry Partch directed by Heiner Goebbels with musikFabrik. Photograph: Wonge Bergmann

What remains of Partch s original instruments are now so frail that they can t be moved from their home at Montclair State University in New Jersey, so when Goebbels decided to stage Delusion with the Cologne-based Ensemble musikFabrik he needed to somehow recreate them. It took percussionist and instrument-maker Thomas Meixner three painstaking years: each obscure material had to be sourced, each exact tuning replicated.

But the results are spectacular.

Not only has Meixner successfully conjured Partch s soundworld, but the constructions look superb (after a performance in Amsterdam in June, the audience crowded around the stage, everyone keen for an up-close ogle). This isn t an incidental point. Visuals were important to Partch, who believed that the central feature of a set design should be the instruments and the people who play them.

It had to do with his concept of corporeal music , in which a musician s physicality is integral to performance. The person who plays the instrument is a part of the instrument, he said. It is a oneness, a wholeness, and if I have anything to say about it he s not going to look like an amateur Californian prune-picker.

Partch called Delusion a ritualistic web .

The narrative is a bleary mix of Japanese Noh theatre, Ethiopian folk mythology, Greek drama and his own wacky imagination. There are two parts, both parables: the first is serious, the second farcical, and together they carefully balance each other out.

You seem to know the scenes but you can t seem recall them, maybe because of the hazy microtonality, says Goebbels. It s the same thing with the story I mean what is it?

If he wanted to be clear he could have used words, but he didn t. I mean there are only about 25 words in the whole thing.

Goebbels s brilliantly zany set design is a cross between a warped botanical garden and a vintage American diner; props include massive inflatable slugs, a roaming KFC mascot and a gaffer-tape goat. Some people think that I took drugs when I was designing it, the 61-year-old German tells me with a hint of a smile.

I guess they aren t used to seeing such colourfulness from me. But no, I didn t take drugs.

In fact he simply tried to follow Partch s score as closely as possible. The more precisely we followed, the better it became.

This is a dreamworld but its construction is so intricate anything but hazy. Balancing looseness and precision was the biggest challenge. It should sound like a pop group performing, but you need academic musicians who can read super-complex scores.

If any ensemble could pull it off, it had to be musikFabrik.

Run as a musicians collective, these contemporary music specialists have a serious appetite for off-the-wall projects. They always look as though they re having enormous fun, too, whether they re playing Lachenmann, Stockhausen or Frank Zappa6. Even just agreeing to perform Delusion was a huge step, says Goebbels.

To leave behind their regular instruments which they have practiced for six hours a day, every day for 30 years or more that is an enormous liberator in itself. I think the experience will change the way they play forever. Once you absorb the corporeality of Partch s music, it doesn t go away.

Goebbels himself has been composing iconic staged works since the 1980s, full of their own beguiling rituals and physicality.

Back then I thought I was developing a new format, he says, but it turns out Partch had already done it in the 50s and 60s. He was so far ahead. Goebbels pauses.

We are very different people, of course. I m rarely drunk; he was often drunk. Towards the end of his life he was full of anger and that gave him a lot of creative energy.

But I have sympathy for his anti-establishment beliefs.

He didn t make artistic compromises.

This is something I think about a lot, and I respect Partch for being so totally non-conformist for just doing his incredible thing.

Delusion of the Fury: a Ritual of Dream and Delusion is at King s Theatre, Edinburgh, 29 & 30 August.7

Have a (virtual) go on Partch s instruments yourself8


  1. ^ Harry Partch (
  2. ^ Heiner Goebbels (
  3. ^ Delusion of the Fury comes to the Edinburgh International Festival this week (
  4. ^ Montclair State University (
  5. ^ musikFabrik (
  6. ^ Frank Zappa (
  7. ^ Delusion of the Fury: a Ritual of Dream and Delusion is at King s Theatre, Edinburgh, 29 & 30 August. (
  8. ^ Have a (virtual) go on Partch s instruments yourself (
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'Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music' Review Dayton …

Colorful characters attempting connection fuels Lee Blessing s folksy1983 comedy Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music, the name of the Houston bar at the center of this simplistic summertime diversion at the Dayton Theatre Guild.

Tough, hot-tempered ex-biker Jim Stools (David Hallowren) owns the bar in question which has undergone a renovation at the hands of his girlfriend Eve Wilfong (Angela Riley). Looking to appeal to the heart as well as the wallet, Eve brings a renewed sense of identity to the establishment, a more welcoming sense of purpose because she feels there is a power in a message. While monitoring the bar s clientele, Eve does her best to offer words of wisdom to her worrisome, peculiar niece Catherine Empanger (Sara Naderer), a novice nun prone to profane outbursts beyond her control.

While Eve and Catherine strengthen their bond, dim-witted ditch-digger Roy Manual (Jared Mola) persistently woos Catherine.

(l to r) David Hallowren, Noah Walters and Jared Mola in the Dayton Theatre Guild's production of

(l to r) David Hallowren, Noah Walters and Jared Mola in the Dayton Theatre Guild s production of Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music
(Contributed photo by Craig Roberts)

Small talk about life and love is huge in this lesser glimpse into Blessing s character-conscious universe, which can be a source of enlightening, thought-provoking dramas ( A Walk in the Woods, Going to St. Ives ) or poignant family fare ( Independence, Eleemosynary ). The goal of Nice People is to merely entertain, which it does, although I wonder what this play could have been if given room to grow more cohesive beyond Blessing s odd decision to separate genders for the majority of the action, particularly devoting the entire first act to Jim and Roy s momentum-stalling ruminations on trucks, women and academia.

Thankfully, director Ralph Dennler s excellently authentic cast smoothly grasps the eccentricities and nuances within this relatable tale.

Hallowren, gruff yet astute in one of his strongest leading performances, epitomizes the frustration of a man who allowed a woman to change his existence for the better even though he may not appreciate it every single second of every day. The terrifically earthy Riley, injecting her dialogue with a gentle, Southern wistfulness recalling Horton Foote or Tennessee Williams, captivates as Eve honestly discusses her past heartache and ultimate liberation in an attempt to make Catherine view the world differently. In her Guild debut, the delightful Naderer brings a proper amount of reticence and perplexity to her portrayal of a tightly-wound woman yearning for more.

As Roy, the splendid Mola, one of the best chameleons in the Miami Valley, avoids becoming a tiresome, backwards caricature by completely immersing himself into his gawky role physically and mentally. With charming moxie and geeky bravado, Mola keeps Roy s quest for love incredibly endearing. As Jason, Eve s mischievous son and Jim s menace, Noah Walters, in his Guild debut, does an amiable job in an underwritten capacity.

Additionally, Blake Senseman s commendable scenic design is greatly accented by a weathered pickup truck center stage that seemingly becomes Hallowren s annoying sidekick.

Nice People lacks impactful vim and verve, but fine acting and an engaging atmosphere keeps this breezy production fittingly lighthearted.

Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music continues through Sept.

7 at the Dayton Theatre Guild, 430 Wayne Ave., Dayton. Act One: 35 minutes; Act Two: 60 minutes. Performances are Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 5 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $19 for adults, $17 for seniors, and $12 for students.

For tickets or more information, call (937) 278-5993 or visit www.daytontheatreguild.org1


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