Yellow Eyes – Rare Field Ceiling
Released: OUT NOW
Yellow Eyes Lineup:
Sam Skarstad // Guitars
Will Skarstad // Guitars & Vocals
Alexander DeMaria // Bass
Mike Rekevics // Drums
Yellow Eyes Online:
Wind through a field; echoes in a Czech church; a choral Siberian dirge; footsteps on a staircase; raindrops on a car roof. A myriad of disconnected sounds they may appear to be, but they find their eerie home on Yellow Eyes’ new album. All accenting the mesmeric melodies laced throughout with a touch of insanity, Rare Field Ceiling walks along the fine line of too whacky to be considered music, and a masterpiece.
The field recordings appearing throughout the album ground the music in such a way that makes it feel more concrete, more material. Without the tinkling of what could be bone chimes or the sadistic howl that pierces the atmosphere of ‘Warmth Trace Reversal’ the music would be entirely alien. The general structure of the opening song is undeniably black metal in execution, but the layered and technical guitar work leaves one in awe and questioning the fabric of all they knew: could this be the future?
Rhetoric aside, ‘Warmth Trace Reversal’ has some of my favourite vocal work. Will Skarstad’s echoey screams sound like they travel along the wind, originating from a musty crypt leagues away; all that reaches your ears has been distorted by time, distance, and decay. Likewise on album closer ‘Maritime Flare’ the contrast with the choral additions, that sit atop the sparkling monolith of the music proper, drown out Will Skarstad’s wails, buried deep under all this, the effect is one of utter despair and alienation.
However, nothing is more impressive this time around than the guitar work. Previous album Immersion Trench Reverie was full of fantastic riffs and atmosphere, but this present album is eye wateringly intricate. ‘Nutrient Painting’ catapults between classic black metal riffs, fast-paced tremolos a la Mgła, to cascading singular notes plucked like stars from an inky night sky. The breakneck dynamism is disorienting but mindblowing to behold; the skill Sam Skarstad must possess makes me question if crossroads pacts with the Lord of Flies have a semblance of truth.
All this would not be possible without the drums though; they are the thematic lynchpin that blends all these disparate ideas together. When the strings are off this plane of existence, and the vocals sound not of this world, the drums are the only thing keeping them grounded. That is not to say they sound bland, oh no! ’Light Delusion Curtain’ is a prime example A section near the end sees the drums schizophrenically swap between thundering blast beats and groovy, jazzy hi-hat work, not before seamlessly reverting back. Easily one of the most satisfying moments on the album.
Yellow Eyes are one of the most creative and progressive units in black metal today and have crafted a monument to brilliant songwriting that has no equal in this world or the next. Listening to Rare Field Ceiling is not just an experience, it’s a pilgrimage into the upper echelons of music, existence, and futility.
1. Warmth Trance Reversal
2. No Dust
3. Light Delusion Curtain
4. Nutrient Painting
5. Rare Field Ceiling
6. Maratime Flare