Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Music Review: Yellow Eyes- "Silence Threads the Evening's Cloth" Cassette
So I realize that I haven't kept this blog in line with its name so far. Most of the music reviewed has been extreme in one way or another, but hasn't quite been black metal. I'm not really into the whole argument of "true" versus "untrue" black metal and nitpicking trends and things that make an album black metal or not. This cassette is one of my favorite black metal releases of the past year. Yes, it's unconventional and certainly draws its inspiration from outside the standard realms of the genre, but in no way should this excellent album be dismissed. Before I even get into the musical content, I need to state that this copy of the cassette was sent to me directly by a member of the band. I was attempting to buy it online, but Yellow Eyes were in the process of transitioning to Broken Limbs Recordings and there were no copies to be found online. I contacted the band to inquire about the timeframe of the release. After a few weeks, they got in touch with me apologizing for the delays and sent me a copy from their personal collection due to my patience. This sort of consideration and kindness is uncommon in the extreme metal underground these days and my respect for these guys grew considerably with this gesture.
Yellow Eyes play a unique brand of black metal that is pummeling and catchy in all the best ways. Any time a song gets a bit ugly and uncomfortable, a dissonant melody comes in to change the pace and encourage the listener onward. One of my favorite things about this album is the fact that almost every other track is an interlude of sorts, creating an unsettling ambiance. These pieces are creatively titled, often focusing on controlled drones and nature sounds, and create more tension than some of the "metal" songs on the album. I'm a sucker for a great buildup, and these tracks work quite well to serve that purpose. The opening song is a three minute long piece in this vein, entitled "Guilt Lingers at Sunrise." It builds perfectly into the epic "My Candle is Gone But I Do Not Move," which opens with a guitar riff reminiscent of some of Nargaroth's stronger moments. The atmosphere is both depressive and chaotic throughout this album. The vocals are howling and unhinged, something of the bastard child of Jane Doe-era Converge and early Burzum releases. This is demented and wonderful music.
Between the spiraling guitars and the dense atmospheres, this album is pretty much the exact kind of music I love. It's fuzzy and hideous, yet it has enough melody and diversity to keep me interested after repeated listens. Tracks like "No More Than A Soaked Plank" and the violent title track stand out as some of the most memorable songs I've heard in quite a while. Also, the tape's packaging is just incredible. It has its own sleeve, made from what appears to be a Yellow Eyes patch that has been sewn to itself in such a shape. I want to use it as a patch, but I'm also terrified of damaging such an excellent piece of packaging should it not be intended for use as a patch. Perhaps this review will help clarify it. Regardless, this is a highly impressive slab of chaotic black metal with some outside influences that only add to the wonderful chaos this vicious trio creates. I look forward to their split with Monument, which I just ordered from the fine folks at Sol y Nieve.
If there are copies left out there, I'm not sure where they are, but I'm totally going to encourage you to check the album out on bandcamp for the price you see fit and help support future output by this excellent group. And guys, if you're reading this, thanks so much for sending me this tape. It's been getting the love and respect it deserves.