This inaugural full-length by Winnipeg-based XVI Eyes (16 Eyes) is a testament to their dedication, as it took two years and a series of line-up changes to finally coalesce. Translated, this means there’s an inconsistent vibe throughout an album that already switches frequently into differently nuanced styles. Probably my favourite cross-section of this release is the trio of songs beginning with the title track The Last Migration of the Hammerheads, in which the guitarists make great use of effects in a blissed-out, post-rock-inspired style. Combined with good songwriting, this takes XVI Eyes ominous, sludgy style of metal to a transcendent level that shines on all fronts. The biggest notch against them is that they tend switch things up a lot, so no one mood can be savoured for very long. Now with a stable line-up, perhaps a renewed focus will spell a stronger follow-up.

Published in Volume 65, Number 4 of The Uniter (September 23, 2010)

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