Villainous is the debut EP from one man band and artist Eski, otherwise known as In Silent Agony. In addition to the impressive artwork that comes with the release, there’s a crisp and blissful polish to the project that consistently brings out the strengths of the songs, and these are things that really do multiply the effect of the music immensely.
The opening and title track crashes into action with the stylish and confident stab of that distorted guitar riff. There’s a speed and urgency to the sound, broken up intermittently by a more relaxed chorus section – an unusual and interesting way to structure the track, and it works really well; drawing you in with the energy, then keeping you captive with the vocal hook.
Sightless is a track that takes the darkness to an even more intense level. Right from the offset, the sound of the music has a certain madness to it that claws at you as you listen. The shudder of the leading guitar riff initiates this, and the vocal performances that make up the verse add to it further. The two vocal styles contrast well – the growl and the whisper – it gives off a pretty theatrical sort of feeling, an added dynamic that implies there’s a pretty big story taking place. As the track evolves you really get pulled into it, and the music seems strangely softer towards the end; just sort of filling out the space between thoughts – intense enough to let you know it matters, but not so much so that it’s completely detached from you as a listener.
This is a good time to point out the creative touch that is prominent throughout the production on these songs. That theatrical feeling as mentioned is something that comes partly from the structure and the various effects used to emphasise certain moments within the lyrics. It’s a clever and effective way of writing the songs, it suggests far more than a simple set of metal chords and some heavy vocals – there’s a lot of feeling and a lot of thought that has gone into this collection.
The third track A Dark Embrace is a definite highlight. The musicality of this piece is complex and creatively inventive. There is still that fast to slow set up that has been part of the signature sound of the project until now, but there’s an entire atmosphere to this piece; the arrangement of chords and the way the music changes from the aggressive to the melodic is hugely effective. The louder you listen, the more it takes over you, and there are certain sections of the song that really strike hard – these addictive moments where the sound is just so, the rising guitar riff with those whispered vocals over the top, particularly alongside the alternative moments, has great impact.
Then you get to Plaguerism, and the energy is at full speed; the riffs are strong and mesmerising, and that classic vocal is performed with great character and confidence. The darkness is intense once again, the way the voices weave in and around each other brings back that dramatic dynamic, and in between these moments you get those awesome distorted chord riffs to really make you move. You can also more clearly pick out some of the lyrics in this track from the very first listen, at which point you can appreciate the depth and the thought process involved in the artist’s writing. There’s a hell of a lot more to these tracks than just the heavy hit of the music.
Diminishing Returns brings things to a close in really strong way. Another definite highlight, and a great way to leave you wanting more once you’ve heard the whole collection. The energy of those guitars and those drums has every bit of power that is needed to hold heavy metal fans captive. There’s a pretty emotional feeling given off by the hook of this song as well, which you can listen to and listen past if you choose to, but when you really listen – there’s once again far more to it than the initial output of the sound.
The creative structure is a massive part of the strength in this one as well, as are the lyrics. The whole idea of the higher we build our walls is something many of us will take note of and immediately relate to, particularly in lieu of recent events around the world. This is an EP well worth listening to a few times over, and it’s something that fans of heavy metal and various sub-genres of the thicker, harder hitting rock sound will love.
Get involved – find and follow In Silent Agony over on Facebook, Soundcloud, Twitter and Instagram. The Villainous EP was released on September 5th – grab your copy via Bandcamp or iTunes (US). You can also head over to the Website for more info.