With Passion – What We See When We Shut Our Eyes

With Passion – What We See When We Shut Our Eyes / 2006 Earache / 10 Tracks / http://www.withpassionmetal.com / http://www.earache.com /

This California band does not take more than ten seconds to start rocking the faces off of their listeners. The music that they play is a brand of progressive cum speed metal that is shrill, melodic, and orchestral all at the same time. The band can bring the finesse just as they bring the brutal, gut-churning metal. There seems to be a much more heavy focus on the instrumental side of the band during tracks like “Pale Horses Ride”. This is a good thing, as the vocals do not contribute much beyond the typical indescript screaming present on many a metal album.

The fact that the band can go and do a breakdown that is similar to a video game’s music (likely, Tetris) and not lose anything in the way of momentum is a further testament to the band’s ability. The band sticks with the tracks on “What We See When We Shut Our Eyes” for a considerable amount of time; where most bands would bail out well before the four, five, or six minute mark, it is a common occurrence for With Passion to go that long. The band is saved from a mediocre album because of the interesting instrumentation that is abound on this album. With a number of different sounding sections on this album, the band can afford to go with longer tracks and fuller sounds.

When the band decides to go more along the lines of the vocals, as is the case with “Through the Smoke Lies A Path”, the results are a little less convincing. The rich instrumentation that fueled “Pale Horses Ride” disappears as it is forced into a narrow band by the similarly limited vocals on the track. For subsequent tracks, it is necessary for With Passion to go forth and allow the instrumentation to do their own thing. To focus all efforts around the vocals will only lead to fail; the title track breaks the instruments partially free from the vocals, but there needs to be more of a split between the two for the band to truly succeed with “What We See When We Shut Our Eyes”. The instrumental track “Triumph Over Tragedy” brings the focus back to the instrumentation; this re-focus of the band’s abilities changes the album slightly. It still seems as if the band tries to subjugate the instruments too much to the vocals; subsequent albums should go and reduce this reliance.

Top Tracks: Triumph Over Tragedy, Forgotten Amongst Screams

Rating: 5.5/10

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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