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on February 7, 2006
Coming off the success of their first album "Ashes to Embers," Orange County's Eyes of Fire regroups and unleashes one of the most powerful metal albums you will hear this year and possibly ever. Drawing together the emotional themes and the vast darkness of the human soul, they understand how to take emotional power and turn it into pure metal fury.

While their first album received much praise, some were critical of their mixed elements. Softly crooned tunes were interspersed and complimented by growls and screams. This threw some people who were expecting a solid stream of metal thunder.

"Prisons" takes some of the elements of "Ashes to Embers" but takes the prior album's successes and completely streamlines the whole package. What you have left is a stunning second album filled with blinding power, superb composition and metal intensity that rivals anything currently on the music scene.

Many want to categorize Eyes of Fire with art metal giants Isis and Neurosis. While similarities certainly exist, Eyes of Fire provides a different musical experience that is unique and well designed. Those bands are known for their meandering guitar moments and ambient sounds; Eyes of Fire is far more accessible and straightforward.

Each song is well composed and provides nice balance and design while still remaining wholly unique. However, "Prisons" plays like a concept album as one song migrates to another. Deep synth sounds move us deeper and darker throughout the emotionally charged disc until we are assaulted, thrashed and spent.

In fact, while strikingly different from Tool, I see their music as a better comparison. Musically, Eyes of Fire retain the cohesive structure that Tool mastered in their albums. They both use a common theme but they diverge as Eyes of Fire's touch is far less mechanical and experimental.

The first track of the album "Blood (This Consumes You)" opens up the album with driving anger and intensity that reminds one of the emotional angst characteristic of hardcore. From here, the album shifts tempo and moves gracefully through differing levels of power climbing out of and dropping into darkness.

Songs named "True Love" and "Falling Apart" makes you want to give up dating and by the end of the album, you realize that singing about trivial demons or serial killers cannot match the pain of simply losing someone you care about. Eyes of Fire understand that inner emotional turmoil is an authentic agony we can all experience. Their music feeds and thrives upon it.

Building upon this pain, words cannot adequately describe how heavy and thundering this disk is. Eyes of Fire has managed to create a sludgy yet battering darkness that feels like they ripped their souls from their bodies and channeled pain from the primordial depths of the human race.

Trying to categorize this doom, death, metal or any other genre will only cause confusion. No single variety can sufficiently describe how exquisite yet intense this album feels. Eyes of Fire have moments of melodic genius. These soft moments lure you into a feeling of comfort only to be tossed into riffs that literally shake your head. All you can do to respond is turn it up louder and let it rattle your brain.

With heaviness and intensity, Eyes of Fire represents all that is intelligent and interesting in contemporary heavy metal music. They have brought together all the best elements of the genre and created something wholly powerful and emotionally charged. "Prisons" is a monumental second album and one you must own.
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on March 30, 2006
If rock music hadn't sucked in recent years, Eyes of Fire's new release, Prisons, probably wouldn't be all that noteworthy. A good record, and one worth buying, but nothing to get excited about.

But it's February of 2006, and that means Prisons is the best thing since sliced bread, or maybe The Sickness. Like almost everything modern and worthwhile in the rock world, Eyes of Fire is signed to Century Media Records ([...]

The band especially excels in the realm of songwriting; the 10 tracks manage to sound structured and concise while averaging six minutes apiece. The melodies are memorable and dark, and the music is epic - like Tool, only without the time signature mind games.

The songs also switch drastically but smoothly between dynamic extremes, with calm, clean guitar passages breaking out into angry walls of distortion and even the occasional thrash riff. It's interesting how Eyes of Fire sounds more like alternative metal from five years ago (Deftones, Chevelle) than it sounds like the death, black and thrash metal typically found on Century Media (The Haunted, Nightwish, God Forbid, Witchery, etc.).

The album is of incredibly even quality, but some standouts include the angry first single, "It all Dies Today," and the gentler but un-ballad-like "True Love." "Dead to the World" is a depressing epic with simple-but-effective guitar work.

Indeed, "simple but effective" pretty accurately sums up the musicianship on the whole record. The arrangements are dense but far from intricate, and the singing/screaming is adequately tuneful but a little muffled. Guitarists Dan Kaufman and Cary Peterson (who has since left the band) occasionally play melodies but never try their hands at solos. Prisons stands out for its songwriting alone.

On a side note, though nary a weak spot is to be found on the record itself, a bonus 2-CD version includes the 24-minute track "Home," a song that would be worthwhile if only it were half as long. It is clear from the over-and-over repeated first riff that the issue of "How can we make this longer?" took precedence over "How can we make this better?" What's more, at 21 minutes or less it could have fit right onto the single-CD version of the album.

Essentially, Prisons is a good record made great by the absolute trash surrounding it - Record of the Year by the standards of recent music. Anyone into heavy, dark, guitar-driven rock should pick it up, because the new Tool and Lacuna Coil releases won't be out for months.
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on March 13, 2006
I haven't had the chance to listen to it too many times yet, but my first impressions were pretty good. I liked the first album alot.
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on May 24, 2006
You ever watch headbangers ball and loose track of which band is which? A lot of these modern bands sound the same, but this video struck me as different. For one, the band didn't swipe around with their guitars, acting all pretentious. Then I bought the cd and was blown away. For 2006, this is the best metal I've heard so far. It reminds me of how Helmet would sound if they were depressed and into death metal. Vocals are awesome.
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