Showing posts with label sibir records. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sibir records. Show all posts

Yellow Eyes- "The Desert Mourns" EP (SIbir Records/Dead Section)

Readers who have been following for any amount of time should know I've been big on New York black metal group Yellow Eyes since the beginning of my writing career (if you could call a blog a career). In just a few short years, these guys have gone from being a band with a promising demo to being the sort of hot commodity who makes year end lists on sites with hundreds of times the visitor count of my little blog. I've even seen copies of their debut demo going for offensively high prices on discogs, which is a sign of their current popularity, although I'd love to see the band getting that kind of cash instead of folks who bought a tape and never even listened to it. In other words, I love Yellow Eyes and it's incredible to me that they've become such a buzz band. This hype would typically be hard to live up to, but this band delivers time after time. Today we're taking a look at their brand new 12" EP, The Desert Mourns.

Back of shirt. Front has Yellow Eyes logo.
With only one song on each side, this album plays at 45RPM, which is a rarity in my collection, but makes this a real collectible gem. These two songs see Yellow Eyes demonstrating a sound that is truly their own yet instantly welcoming even for those not previously initiated with this skilled young act. Vibrant and bright guitars that cut through the mix with a clarity uncommon in black metal will grab your attention almost immediately after following the band's trademark introductory ambiance. If the band's energy doesn't come through your sound system with the passion and fury of a live performance, then I can only assume your ears or heart aren't in the right place, because this is a gripping, if not unnecessarily brief, demonstration of Yellow Eyes' mastery of the genre and true potential. The drumming is expressive without hogging the spotlight and the vocals are almost scientifically engineered to hit the right degree of presence for this kind of music. There is a sense of confidence that this album displays that, while other releases hinted at, is finally coming to the foreground here. I think the band has always had material like this in them yet perhaps did not have the reputation or experience necessary to share it properly. This isn't really even ambitious so much as it is another step in this already challenging band's continuous path towards dominance of the metal underground. Another thing to make note of is the lyrical expansion. While Yellow Eyes' career started with rather bleak, depressing lyrics fixated on self-loathing, misery, and generally unpleasant themes, they've adapted the position of storytellers rather than miserable black metal dudes. While I'm a fan of both, the growth and maturity of the band has clearly expanded in every aspect of their complete package, which delights me. As an aside, if you're a geek like me, you'll love how intense this gets if you play it at 33RPM instead of 45. You'll have to try it for yourself when you grab a copy.

This album is available on its own in versions unique to both the US and EU, as well as in a bundle with a shirt commissioned for this particular album. I'm honestly surprised this didn't sell out in its first day or two, but that doesn't mean you should wait long if you want to have a shot at owning a copy. Also, yes, I'm still unable to embed from bandcamp for some awful reason. Here's a youtube sample of the title track. Once my official site goes up soon I'll be able to embed properly again. Thanks for the patience, dear readers.

Yellow Eyes- "Hammer of Night" CS (Sibir Records)

When I heard that the mighty Yellow Eyes would be unleashing a new album, it was a given that it would eventually make its way onto this site. I'm delighted to say that these dudes are continuing their trend of being great musicians with this release, which is being released by their own new label, Sibir Records. Aside from the standard edition tape, there's an incredible wooden box edition (pictured in this review) available, which was so popular that they had to make a second run of it.

Yellow Eyes' progression musically has always been subtle, but with each release their sound has grown more fully formed and is now as well arranged as it is still urgent and challenging. I've heard some folks throw out lazy comparisons for these guys, but I feel they've crafted their own little subcategory of black metal that is unique and recognizable without outside context. The album opens similarly to their demo, with an ambient sound collage of sorts to create an atmosphere, but it's instantly apparent that things are crisper and more coordinated here than with previous outings. The music still retains its heavily textured and dense feeling but I can more easily separate the instruments from each other and the vocals feel more gnarled in the traditional black metal vein. While few riffs hop out of place anymore, the music is instead angular and distorted while it flows on a somewhat unpredictable path. Still, the music flows so naturally that I can't imagine the songs taking on another direction. What Yellow Eyes do that constantly impresses me is maintaining overtly melodic and tonal songs without sacrificing intensity or atmosphere. I can almost feel myself running through a snowy forest in the dead of night only to find a final place to curl up and die in solitude. The lyrical content's decidedly wretched nature only serves to amplify the coldness of the music, yet I feel more catharsis than wallowing or misery in the songs. This album truly displays the strength of well-made black metal that can and should bring in fans of most subcategories of the genre and serves as one of the genre's high water marks for the year to date. Highlights include the gripping opener "Light Has Fallen" and the instantly memorable "Many Long Fingers Bent In Pain," although no track on this album is lacking. If anything, I look forward to whatever Yellow Eyes' next progression will sound like.

Order copies of this from the label while they're still available, especially if the gorgeous wooden box set is still in stock. It's worth every penny and I promise you'll have a hard time swapping this tape out for anything else for quite some time.