Blanck Mass-World Eater: Album Review

Living up to the Sacred Bones Record label reputation, “World Eater,” the latest from UK-based industrial/noise producer Blanck Mass, pummels and jolts.  After the quick, introductory track, “Rhesus Negative” fills itself to the brim with chaotic noise—tapping into some Aphex Twin influenced vocals and a bit of a hardcore punk bluntness in the percussive sounds—for a riveting nine minutes.

The backside of the record finds out of time electric spark on “Minnesota” and a bit more of an open sound in the guitar-driven “The Rat.”  The album quickly proves its ability to find contrast, however, as “Rhesus Negative’s” jolting mass heaves itself over to the next track, “Please,” finding spacious beauty.

“World Eater” is a work that finds life at every turn, but also does so differently on each track.  For every instance of chaos, the work seems to find another of angelic bliss; the rhythmic overdrive of the hard-hitters is matched by arythmic noise and spread out bass/snare pillars on less straightforward numbers; and the menacing violence is balanced out by enlightening optimism.

Each of his tracks averaging out to about seven minutes, Benjamin John Power finds time to transition from track to track and craft a specific identity at the heart of each song.  Whereas Power’s first solo record stuck to swaths of shimmering drone, and his second found the dance-floor, his third seems to toss all his talents into one place and somehow come out of the other end still making sense.

In terms of aesthetic, the work finds a bit of a classical aura within the industrial foundation.  “John Doe’s Carnival of Error,” for instance, opens with a twinkling, high melody, reminiscent of some sort of deranged xylophone. Between the bombardment of “Rhesus Negative,” Power also sticks in a bit of high, choral vocals that add to the drama.  The sound of the big moments is often so dense, that “orchestral” is the only suitable description.  These gothic/liturgical connotations might also help appeal to metal listeners, who are often subjected to references to past centuries.

The work also finds a lot of replay value in the consistently brilliant melodic offerings.  I’m reminded of the emotional ploys of The Range as tracks like “Silent Treatment” slowly center themselves on a gushing melody.  Single “Please” is a clear highlight.  The song opens with aquatic tones before the first vocal sample belts out.  As the first bass movement gets heralded in, the track instantly gains a huge sense of depth.  Another belting melody comes into play, eventually colliding with the first, before both get accentuated by stabs of backing “ahhs.”

Perhaps a point that I would raise against Power is that although the work is jarring and confronting, it somehow lacks a bit of rawness that makes noise tick.  As a whole, the work can be described as “lush.”  Even sounds that are essentially screams are super calculated and positioned perfectly.  It would be interesting to see the pure noise of “Minnesota” somehow filtered into the dance-able context of the hyper-quantized numbers.

“World Eater” is a highly enjoyable listen from a producer that has carved out an entirely new world.  I’d like to see things left a bit less refined and calculated, but this album delivers greatness on every track with countless climaxes of jaw-dropping beauty and eye opening punches to the gut.

-Donovan Burtan



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