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Five of The Eyes: Soars With The Venus Transit

Powerful and mature progg-ish hard rock with a cosmic bent

Unique time signatures, atmospheric riffs, and song titles like “Atmosphere,” “Space Is,” and “Passenger,” indicate you’re about to be launched into a cosmic aerial of an auditory landscape the moment you cue up Portland, Maine’s Five of The Eyes excellent new LP The Venus Transit. Since early Pink Floyd and Hawkwind, prog rock with cosmic inclinations has been near omnipresent in the world of rock music, but rarely has it sounded this good. Not as heavy as Dream Theatre or as scary or political as SOAD, but heavier than RUSH and the aforementioned Pink Floyd and Hawkwind, FIve of The Eyes already strikes a perfect balance that places them in proper company, at the very least, with these legends at this early stage in their career.

The Venus Transit isn’t a perfect album though. “Passengers” meanders a bit, letting some of the thrust out of the warp drive launch that is the opening four songs. Five tracks in is a smart place to settle in with a slower track, but the song’s pseudo-Zeppelin opening riffs detract from the solid riffing and songwriting that “Atmosphere” and “Wasteland,” in particular, displayed up to that point. The last minute and 43 seconds of the song rescues it from completely devolving into what should have been a B-side though with its ascending guitar lines. The album rebounds heroically with the next track “Lust to Dust”. Its up tempo rhythms and psychedelic guitar riffs meld effortlessly with some more atmospheric multi-tracked riffs and coalesce into a hard chord driven guitar overlay that makes “Lust to Dust” the hardest and most complex track on the album. It’s simply a great song, and an even greater introduction to what is so inspiring about Five of The Eyes.

Lead singer Darrell Foster has a vocal delivery and range that recalls both Robert Plant and Geddy Lee, but remains all his own within the context of Five of The Eyes’ unique prog approach to their particular version of rock. Foster manages to cover all the rock vocal requirements and then some at multiple points on the album. He particularly soars on the powerfully moving “Monsoon,” evoking striking emotion as he sings about “my father’s ashes” and subjects a little more down to earth and personal. This isn’t to say that Five of The Eyes metaphorical sci-fi lyrics aren’t particularly moving, but songs about death and its effects on those left behind call for a little more depth and Foster delivers beautifully.

Five of The Eyes is a powerful band with a future even brighter than its album’s starry namesake’s glow. The Venus Transit is a mature prog album that defies its prog categorization, ascending above the horizon of its contemporaries and shrugging off its weaker moments with its more gloriously expansive, and transcendent, ones.

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Carolina's based writer/journalist Andy Frisk love music, and writing, and when he gets to intermingle the two he feels most alive. Covering concerts and albums by both local and national acts, Andy strives to make the world a better place and prove Gen X really can still save the world.

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