Published Jun 25, 2019Since their inception, New York's Yellow Eyes have emerged as one of the most exciting bands in modern black metal, projecting the style through a skewed lens that both beautifies and deforms, to grand effect.
Rare Field Ceiling pushes further into the dual realms of savagery and atmosphere than its predecessors. The drums seem to hit harder, while the guitars soar like a giant bird of prey. This is exhibited from the get-go in "Warmth Trance Reversal," which evokes a desperate chase in its hurried tempo, until awakening into the nightmare of "No Dust," where Will Skarstad's tortured voice rings out from a distance like some wraith on the approach, as the listener is overtaken by a tangible anxiety.
There is a spectrum of emotion that Yellow Eyes work within that distinguishes them from the standard black metal template. In the way of Panopticon or Wayfarer, Yellow Eyes see the darkness as much as the light, and in the moments when they reflect that light, such as the latter half of "Nutrient Painting," it empowers rather than debilitates.
Yellow Eyes have always been characterized in great part by their distinct production, which, while slightly refined on Rare Field Ceiling, retains its rust-laden, soil-grown core. It's rare that raw production emulates something other than frigid wastes, but Yellow Eyes evoke a reclamation by nature, at times comparable with such unorthodox bands like Botanist. Bass drums seem half buried in the Earth, while strings rattle as though eroded. Skarstad's vocals are as chilling as ever, caught between wrath and excruciation that speaks to the dramatic soul of their music.
Yellow Eyes continue to grow in Rare Field Ceiling, but never lose sight of what makes their music unique, and strike a balance between evolution and remaining the same. (Gilead Media)