Rusty Eye is a band that originally formed in Mexico City, Mexico in 1995 and later relocated to sunny Hollywood, CA. I was recently contacted by bassist and singer Mr. Rust to introduce me to his band. It's just the kind of DIY strategy that the band has been utilizing to get themselves notice over the last few years. Sometimes, in the underground metal scene, that's the only way to accomplish things. Well, I have been won over. This album, the band's fourth, is surprisingly original and creative. Why have I not heard this band before?
The band is very interested in horror movies and this influence shines through like a beacon. The entire atmosphere of the album gives off a 1960's or 1970's psychedelic horror movie vibe. Everything about it feels dingy and unclean. Even the packaging of the album gives off that feel, with the well-done cover art and the inside artwork. The cover is colorful and sinister and chaotic, all at once. The CD itself is made to look like a vinyl record. Another nice touch.
The vocals are provided by the aforementioned Mr. Rust as well as drummer Miss Randall. Mr. Rust has a dirty, gravelly-sounding voice, which adds to the atmospheric tension of the overall sound. His extreme vocals could use a little work. They are not bad, just not as impressive as his full-throated snarls. His clean vocals on "The Serial Kind" sound like a demented Jim Morrison. Miss Randall provides backing vocals early in the album and as it progresses, she takes more and more of a lead vocal role. Miss Randall's vocals are typically delivered in femme fatale-esque sultry voice beckoning unwary men into danger.
Musically, it's not easy to pigeonhole Rusty Eye. Any given song may be different and a wide variety of musical styles are present on the album. The band seems to be rooted in a combination of thrash metal, progressive metal, and psychedelic rock. But again, this may be completely different from one song to the next.
The album opens up with an instrumental "At the House by the Cemetary" which builds into the uptempo "11.02 Day of the Dead" about the Mexican holiday. "Mondo Cane"'s opening riff sounds lifted from a garage band, but the song is fast and raw once it gets going. The pace is kept up until "The Serial Kind" which slows things down quite a bit and features Miss Randall on lead vocals. After that, the thrash attack comes crashing back through for a few more tracks before slowing down on the last two tracks.
As for the instrumentation, Rusty Eye features three very talented musicians. Miss Randall is an incredible drumming talent. Her fills and cadences capture the listener's attention and do not let go. Baron Murtland is a very talented guitarist and creates much of the atmosphere and soundscapes with his take on psychedelia-inspired metal. His solos sound as if they would be at home in any stoner doom metal band. Mr. Rust's bass talents are also on full display here as it rumbles along shaking the ground beneath.
The only disappointment I have with the album is its tendency to lose steam near the end. The songs are not as well-constructed after "Jerusalem Cricket Souffle" and lose the listener's attention a little bit. A strong album closer would have been a good way to end this album on a high point, but instead we have "Rituales de Sangre" which is more of a soundtrack to an old horror movie during a drug-induced ritual. It then descends into only an occasional ding. If the last song had been more of a barnburner, it may have awakened the listener, bringing them back more and more. That being said, the album as a whole is a quality listening experience.
This is a strong album by a band devoted to its craft and to making a name for themselves. The band certainly has a strong work ethic and a fierce desire to succeed. If the band keeps putting out albums like this one, they should be able to be successful. This is an overall very good album. It's varied and chaotic, but with enough of a common thread running through it so as not to completely lose any listeners. The whole thing feels dirty and grungy, but it's a good feeling.