Eidola released their new album, To Speak, To Listen on June 2nd via Blue Swan Records.
Eidola are a band I have just recently discovered, in part to their association with Dance Gavin Dance, one of my favorite bands (Eidola’s vocalist/guitarist Andrew Wells tours with them as a rhythm guitarist, as well as being signed to Blue Swan Records, an imprint owned by DGD guitarist Will Swan), as well as the fact I’m seeing them later this month where they will be supporting Hail The Sun on their current tour. Listening to their previous album, Degeneraterra, which was released in 2015, immediately made me excited for this new record. Musically, Eidola is a progressive post-hardcore band, fusing the emotion, mix of clean/screamed vocals and frenetic energy of post-hardcore with the lengthy song structures, technical guitar and drum work, and cerebral nature of progressive rock, similar to bands such as The Fall of Troy, The Mars Volta, and Circa Survive.
While I enjoyed Degeneraterra quite a lot, it was definitely unrefined. It clocked in at over 65 minutes, indulged in its prog-rock excess and was definitely not very accessible outside of the small niche it occupied. However, this new record, To Speak, To Listen definitely addressed some of those concerns. Clocking in at 12 tracks and 52 minutes, it’s definitely a much less taxing listen. While their previous effort definitely skewed more towards the progressive and at times excessive side, To Speak, To Listen finds a sharp, fantastic balance between Eidola’s prog and post-hardcore influences. The melodies are much, much stronger, and screamed vocals are much more prevalent, appearing on every song in varying degrees.
The song “Primitive Economics,” one of the standouts, is a great example of the evolution Eidola has made in their sound. The clean and screamed vocals intertwine during the chorus, melodically flowing over the instrumentation. On this song, and throughout the album, they definitely display their DGD influence as far as guitar work goes, many of the riffs and leads are groovy or even funky while still being commanding, heavy and technical.
Even though the majority of the songs follow that formula to some degree, this album is never repetitive or same-y. The song “Loti” is an oddity, an almost ballad-like song containing no screamed vocals and building from a slow beginning to a rewarding, emotional climax. The noodly, technical riffs and leads are also absent, yet despite all this doesn’t feel out of place on the record, and due to the lyrics being more personal and palatable than most on the album, ends up being one of the best and most emotionally potent songs on the record.
Lyrically, as is custom with progressive rock, the lyrics are (for the most part) esoteric, cryptic, and dense, however unlike the majority of their peers, Eidola’s lyrics are also meaningful and poetic, even though much of its inspiration is derived from religions such as Sikhism and Zoroastrianism, according to guitarist/clean vocalist Andrew Wells. The intro track as well as the aforementioned “Loti” are great examples of this. The songwriting is also a step up from their previous work as well; the songs are, for the most part, tightly structured and don’t veer off into meandering instrumental displays of virtuosity like Degeneraterra (and most prog in general) tends to do.
On this new record, Eidola have managed to expand and refine their sound, cutting out some of the excess and filler to deliver their best release yet, and one of my favorite albums of the year so far. This record still isn’t for everyone, the melodrama, screamed vocals, and relentless technicality may turn some off, and both prog-rock and post-hardcore are already looked down on by many. To me however, this album is a sonic journey, 52 minutes of some of the best musicianship and songwriting in its genre by a band that is often overlooked when discussing this style of music. If you enjoy artists like Circa, DGD, Coheed & Cambria, or The Fall of Troy, you would definitely enjoy this album.
Find dates/tickets for Eidola’s tour with Hail The Sun at bandsintown.com/eidola.