Sound — 10
Eidola are primarily a post-hardcore band (with progressive metal influences) formed in Salt Lake City, Utah, on the label Blue Swan Records. "Degeneraterra" is their second full-length record, following up 2012's "The Great Glass Elephant." The album was produced in Sacramento and released in May 2015.
In terms of sound, "Degeneraterra" sounds somewhat reminiscent of "Frances the Mute"-era The Mars Volta, minus the perhaps overindulgent use of soundscaping. The record is very well-produced and excellently mastered, with instrumentals sounding clean and crisp in its lighter moments, while still having the crushing heavier mixing of many metal records.
The record is intertwined with both lighter and more intense moments, but flows well, particularly expressed on the beautiful standout track of the album "Humble Ledger (Gnostic States)," and the album's chilling climax, "Omega: Third Temple."
Songs such as "Contra: Second Temple" show off the band's technical prowess, while "The Purpose We Find in Our Voices" bring forth that lighter side. Guitars in particular, are excellent, with songs such as "To Know What's Real" showcasing some fairly technical riffery.
Lyrics — 8
Vocalist Andrew Michael Wells brings a touch of soul to the table on "Degeneraterra," with his powerful clean vocals peaking on songs such as "Omega: Third Temple." Eidola's unclean vocals simply aren't as strong as the clean singing, but that barely matters when considering Wells' overall range. It all comes across as a very impressive release.
In terms of lyrical content, the record expresses the band's existential beliefs rather well, but ultimately not in a way that's too forceful. For example, the track "Humble Ledger (Gnostic States)":
"Then we must move.
Invite ourselves as conduits
to congregate in lieu
of all the disparity we hold in our hearts
and the unanswered questions that tear us apart."
Additionally, from the track "Compromise":
"They say it comes in waves,
the swell and the receding.
As you and I both know
these weighted thoughts are never fleeting."
I feel that I don't need to say much to convince anyone that lyrically, this album holds its own.
Overall Impression — 9
All in all, Eidola has created an excellent album, its hour-long runtime showcasing an ambitious, diverse effort with a great deal of replayability. As previously stated, standout tracks include "Humble Ledger (Gnostic States)" and the crushingly awesome "Temple" suite - three hard-hitting songs dispersed throughout the album - "Contra," the second of these tracks, being the standout.
It's not flawless - there are issues with the overall flow of the record, and on occasion tracks lose the message they try to convey in the technicality of it all - "The Comfort We Find in Our Vices," for example, while a great track, does tend to meander around a bit. But the album impresses overall, and ultimately makes my nitpicking of particular tracks seem rather pointless, as it fits the record when fully embraced. To properly experience "Degeneraterra," one almost has to listen to in full.