Vacant Eyes
Gig Seeker Pro

Vacant Eyes

Easthampton, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Easthampton, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Metal Doom Metal




"Vacant Eyes – A Somber Preclusion of Being (Review)"

This is the debut album from US doom band Vacant Eyes.

Combining funeral doom, death/doom, melodic doom, and progressive doom, A Somber Preclusion of Being contains 75 minutes of sorrowful soundscapes.

This is an album of emotive melancholy and anguished growls, but one that doesn’t fully restrict itself to any single doom genre. The band ably mix the above-mentioned subgenres into a progressive doom concoction that reveals a band who are very capable at writing their chosen dark art. The tracks may have funeral doom lengths, but uniformly slow and funereal this isn’t; Vacant Eyes like their doom a bit more multifaceted than that.

The lengthy songs are richly melodic and drip with emotive potency. Some of the leads are quite resplendent, demonstrating once again an appreciation of influences that usually fall outside of more generic doom metal’s remit. All of the leads and solos are expressive and well-judged, however, and complement the warm rhythm guitars well as the songs unfold. These latter aspects of Vacant Eyes’ music should not be discounted, and there are even some crunchy riffs to be had in places.

Keyboards and piano improve the overall quality of the music effectively, with subtle enhancements that add atmosphere and feeling. Other elements such as acoustic sections and clean singing, (both male and female), also contribute to the music’s depth, adding further layers and texture to Vacant Eye’s enchanting formula on the occasions that they appear.

Highly atmospheric and effortlessly emotive, A Somber Preclusion of Being is a very enjoyable and gratifying listen if you’re in the mood for some doom-drenched misery. - Wonderbox Metal

"VACANT EYES Makes Their Somber Return With 'A Colorless Eternity'"

I've been hoping for years Vacant Eyes would return and grace the world with their crushing, progressive version of funeral doom. The band started off strong in 2014 with The Dim Light of Introversion, and I got to premiere their demo track "A Timeless Vault" in 2017. Now Vacant Eyes is here with a brand new full length album titled A Somber Preclusion of Being out September 4, and I'm once again honored to stream their new single "A Colorless Eternity."

If you're a fan of bands like Swallow the Sun, Shape of Despair, Daylight Dies, and Opeth, then you're going to absolutely love this. Vacant Eyes has mastered the art of writing melodies made to move at a glacial pace, though the band clearly doesn't fear stepping outside their genre and dragging whatever they've caught back into the dark. Or as Vacant Eyes lyricist and main songwriter Josh Moran puts it, A Somber Preclusion of Being is a "collection of thoughts and perspective for those who share the dream of an alternate ending to existence."

A Somber Preclusion of Being was mastered by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios (Opeth, Katatonia, Dark Tranquillity) and pre-orders are available here and here on Bandcamp. - Greg Kennelty, Metal Injection

"review: VACANT EYES: A Somber Preclusion of Being"

In the case of a band that is new to the listener a main question on the mind is: What is it that this band does that is interesting to me? There are so many genres and new bands doing all sorts of crazy loud stuff. People want something that entertains in some way. Vacant Eyes is a bit more conservative in that sense; they’re not trying to invent a new genre, and they’re not crazy experimentalism nor weird genre mixtures. What Vacant Eyes does is something that has proven to work: melodies. More to the point, it is beautiful-somber melodies and an unusually tremendous abundance of them, so much so that, if we must point to the one thing that they do as their defining characteristic, the sheer quantity of melodies and the quality of them is what Vacant Eyes is all about.

First, what it is not: It is not happy-go-lucky heavy/power nor fast thrash/death/black melodies. It is not sugary metalcore/melodeath melodies. It is not a metal version of pop melodies. It is not any of that. The melodies evoke both a sense of aristocratic elegance and beauty, along the lines of melancholy, or sublime awe, or Romanticism, or emotions away from the happy/angry tropes often used in metal music. Emotions that reach for a sense of beauty, like a great classic painting, sculpture or epic poem.

There are two major considerations with Vacant Eyes: 1. The album is almost 75 minutes. 2. This is death doom, a genre notorious for slow-motion songwriting. Both of these are usually major concerns because who has the patience for 75 minutes of slow-motion monotony?! In blunt words, death doom, unless you are already a devoted fan, can be truly boring. Boring music for 35 minutes is one thing, and boring music for 75 minutes is just unacceptable, except for those fans that develop a taste for it.

Vacant Eyes is keenly aware that monotonous slow motion gets boring and that if you dare to make an album almost 75 minutes, you best bring your A game if you hope to entertain people other than the die-hard fans of sloth metal. For this reason, even though this is death doom, the music features a nice variety (it’s not crazy tempo changes) within songs and this avoids formulaic songwriting. Most importantly, their use of melodies is constant throughout the songs. Unlike other bands, they do not make you wait ten minutes of drone/sludge sloth-lazy riff repetition until you finally, at last, receive the melody. This band is going to give the melodies to you right away, keep giving them for the duration of the song, and the fact that the songs and album are so long are not even going to matter. This band knows! It’s like they know the problems that are inherent to doom. Vacant Eyes works with somber-beautiful melodies in a way that seeks to impress upon the listener a sense of grace that won’t soon be forgotten. They have gone all out and made an album like it is the last thing that they will ever do in this lifetime (don’t expect a follow-up album any time soon!).

Let’s talk about the negative aspects of the album. The drums seem to be too clean to sound like real, live drums in the studio. There is not a whole lot of noise of cymbals, for instance, the way that real cymbals tend to be a bit noisy in metal. The snare sounds, again, almost too perfect, too clean. This publication cannot state it as a fact that this is the sound of sampled drumming or real, live studio drums, but the sound may be a bit too clean to be real, live human drumming in the studio.

This album was probably a bad business decision by the band. The band could have easily released two separate albums in two separate years and keep the promoting going on for a good two years straight, or even do three separate EPs and keep the promoting and keep the band in the metal press for three years and just basically stay public with merch (various separate shirt designs for three EPs, etc.), lyric videos, playthrough videos, so on and so forth. However, they decided to give the fans the entire work all in one big gigantic moment. The band has missed out on a business opportunity to milk and rip off the fans for money time and again for three years straight. Well, that’s fine, we suppose, but they won’t become billionaires thinking this way, will they?! Maybe they have not paid enough attention to the way that Coca-Cola, Google, Kiss or Iron Maiden find ways to keep the customers paying.

To conclude, even the vocals offer a type of elegant growl that is not annoying, that is mixed at the right volume and done in a skilled way so as not to become a distraction. Anyway, if you are interested in grandiose doom, and you are willing to explore a band that plays slow music but in a measured way with some nice tempo changes, then the melodies are going to be something special. - Metal Bulletin Zine

"Stoned to Death II – June 3, 2017 – Hawks and Reed Arts Performing Center, Greenfield, MA"

Vacant Eyes kicked things off at 3:30 p.m. The six-piece from Easthampton, Mass., plays depressive, melancholic doom metal that reminds this scribe of Ghost Brigade. With songs clocking in around 12 to 15 minutes in length, the band could only fit two songs in their 30-minute set, but the music contained enough twists and turns to keep the audience engaged, which filled the floor even at 3:30 p.m.

From slow, sorrowful melodies drenched with emotion, to heavier, more up-tempo movements, heads banged and swayed in unison with the music. Featuring three guitarists (one announced as a fill-in), and a keyboardist along with bass and drums, plus vocals akin to Jukka Pelkonen of Omnium Gatherum, the group’s dark, drowning melodies were a great way to get things started. Both songs played were new songs, but I was sure to pick the band’s 4-song EP, “The Dim Light of Introversion,” as theirs was one of my favorite sets of the fest. - Matt Bower, Dead Rhetoric

"Vacant Eyes – A Somber Preclusion of Being (Turgid Funeral Doom)"

Oh I fooled you with the subtitle of this review lol. Hey, since Vacant Eyes were being wordy, I figured I'd be wordy, even though what our subtitle today implies is their wordiness is a defect. That's just like a joke man. In fact, it's all in good praise. A Somber Preclusion of Being wanted to be deep, and it succeeds in perfect regard. From the faceless entity on the cover in a vast, foggy forest, you are welcomed into a tightly packed, but never bursting, symphonic funeral doom of the best sort. I'm rather surprised this wasn't picked up by a label for a release, but maybe Vacant Eyes didn't want to bother. That would be my only assumption, because it would be impossible to let this one slip by if you had any brains, and money.

A Somber Preclusion of Being proves what I've said many times about funeral doom. Quick summary: do it slow and symphonic. Now more details; just slow and the riffs grow weary, too much symphonic and it leans heavily towards trad Goth stereotypes. Vacant Eyes have taken my suggestions to a fruitful level even though they've never heard of me until now. They're masters at the slow, the crush, the tomb roars, and so forth, but they also know when to move more somberly, and, occasionally, how to do it clean, without relying on mere force, allowing the synth full breadth. It's a shame a big label didn't pick it up, but maybe they didn't care, and we like it unexposed around here anyway.

Vacant Eyes – A Somber Preclusion of Being
Cover Art: Kishor Haulenbeek
4.7 / 5 - Stanley Stepanic, Deaf Sparrow

"VACANT EYES Ushers In Autumn With Its Doom-Laden New Song 'A Timeless Vault'"

Vacant Eyes is taking its time in releasing its debut LP, though if it's going to be even half as good as the band's debut EP The Dim Light Of Introversion, things are not to be rushed. While you're waiting, we've been given the grim-robed privilege of premiering Vacant Eyes' demo of a new song titled "A Timeless Vault." It's got all the hallmarks of funeral doom-type bands like Clouds and Swallow The Sun, yet the melodic sensibilities of bands like Insomnium.

Plus, this is only a demo! Who the hell knows how great "A Timeless Vault" is going to be once things are in full swing with the full length? According to the band, the album A Somber Preclusion Of Being will be out sometime this winter, and will be 6 tracks and 70 minutes long. A Somber Preclusion Of Being is being engineered by Brian Westbrook (Lich King) at Sonic Titan Studios in the hills of Shelburne Falls, MA, close to the band's home in Easthampton, MA. - Greg Kennelty, Metal Injection

"Vacant Eyes – The Dim Light of Introversion (Self-Released)"

One sub-genre that extends patience for deep, intense value has to be funeral death/doom. When tempos crawl along at measures half the resting heartbeat of elite marathon runners and song-lengths run usually into the eight minute plus region, bands that choose to execute in this particular style need to know gaining a solid following will probably be a slow trek instead of a viral sensation. Hailing from western Massachusetts, the sextet Vacant Eyes originally began as a one-man project from Josh Moran, only to expand over the past few years into a full band and this debut release The Dim Light of Introversion.

The shortest cut “Silent Acquiescence” at 3:40 is an opening instrumental that contains beautiful piano/keyboard passages against equally thoughtful acoustic guitar parts. Josh, Jamie Emerson, and Alex Smith are the axe trio who are able to layer key harmonic electricity while also pushing out clean embellishment on “Indifference”, many of the twin melody choices reaching into classic metal territory while Josh’s growling nature keeps Vacant Eyes on the death path. Twelve minutes of despair, the rhythm section of drummer/keyboardist Chris Kudukey and bassist Grim Gallows Riley building the tension through a number of progressive and double bass nuances to make this one of the highlights – while the sudden keyboard drop at 7:19-7:34 from Mark Richardson adds more aural suspension.

The beauty and depression make “The Cortex” another song that one takes in continuously, drawn out chord progressions giving way to solid choir-oriented keyboards and clean, echoing guitar refrains – the sparseness of the lyrics setting up dark pictures in the mind. Vacant Eyes as a unit understand that you can still be engaging at a plodding pace, and keep building the arrangements in elegance, grace, and sophistication through subtle magnification – a fresh keyboard line here, slightly faster tempo there, or even more engaging guitar layers.

If you enjoy bands like Mournful Congregation, Skepticism, or others from that European/Australian ilk and didn’t think an American band could pull this style off convincingly, well Vacant Eyes is the band to watch for. A new full-length will be on the streets soon, and at 4 tracks/34 minutes The Dim Light of Introversion provides stellar knowledge, musicianship, and execution in this niche market. - Matt Coe, Dead Rhetoric


A Somber Preclusion of Being (2020)

The Dim Light of Introversion (2014)



Longing to discover what lies beyond, through the pain, misery, and beauty that are universal to human existence. It is eventually essential to face one’s own thoughts and emotions directly.

Vacant Eyes, with their forthcoming studio album, A Somber Preclusion of Being, aim to be a catalyst to explore our most sorrowful moments and contemplate our deepest and most personal questions. Expanding upon the melodic funeral death/doom metal sound of 2014’s The Dim Light of Introversion EP, the band moves ever forward, arriving at a sound that is more progressive, creating even more dynamic and varied arrangements, though not losing sight of its roots.

Originally founded in 2011 by Josh Moran (Guitar / Vocals) as a solo project, the desire to take the music into a live setting led to a full band forming in 2013. The current line-up includes Moran along with Alex Smith (Guitar/Backing Vocals), Grim Riley (Bass), Chris Kudukey (Drums), and Mark Richardson (Keyboard), all of whom contribute to the creative processes.

The new release was mastered by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia, Dark Tranquillity, et al.) at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden, and recorded and with sound engineer Brian Westbrook at Sonic Titan Studios in the band’s home state of Massachusetts, USA. The new Vacant Eyes album finds the extreme metal outfit dedicating themselves to boundlessly crafting their own brand of heavy music, cloaked in themes of non-existence, despair, loss, and seeking truths often left unspoken. “I find a certain beauty in depression and darkness. It’s as real as it gets, and I have the utmost respect for it,” Moran, the band’s lyricist and main songwriter, explained.

A Somber Preclusion of Being opens with the vast, nearly 17-minute track “A Colorless Eternity,” which sets the tone for the album with its heavy, driving rhythm, melancholic and introspective lead guitar lines, choral keyboards, and pounding, often mid-tempo drums. The album leads the listener through a diverse sequence of passages, which seamlessly shift in range from the delicateness of heartbreaking solo piano to full-on metal bore with growled death vocals and distorted guitars, all with a palpable emotional grip. It closes with the funeral doom-laden “Into an Empty Dream,” ending with a tinge of resolution, utilizing three guitars to form a strong melody, counter-part harmony, and decimating rhythm to elicit a somber feeling of intensity, perhaps alluding to finding the will to accept and make peace with embracing the unknown of what is to come.

In regards to the band, Dead Rhetoric said, “Vacant Eyes as a unit understand that you can still be engaging at a plodding pace, and keep building the arrangements in elegance, grace, and sophistication through subtle magnification,” and describes the band’s scope as spanning “From slow, sorrowful melodies drenched with emotion, to heavier, more up-tempo movements…” Metal Injection has featured the band in their Funeral Doom Friday series, and described the band as having “all the hallmarks of funeral doom-type bands like Clouds and Swallow The Sun, yet the melodic sensibilities of bands like Insomnium.”

Having performed at a host of venues around New England, including festival appearances at Anticosmic Music, multiple iterations of RPM Fest, and Stoned to Death, Vacant Eyes are quite accustomed to playing in a live setting. The group always takes the stage with the full band in addition to a third guitarist to faithfully recreate the musical vision of their recorded work. Their performances, while sometimes conjuring a visceral, physical reaction from those in attendance, often evoke an air of reverence and introspection, sometimes moving those taking in the music to tears. The band hopes to tour following the release of the album.

Meanwhile, amidst preparing for this release, Vacant Eyes have already begun work on their next songs. Their goal is always to evolve, always to be free in their songwriting, to look into the ether, and to capture the essence of anguish.

Band Members