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Confident Evolution: Yellow Eyes’ “Velvet on the Horns”


Let no conversation about the New York City black metal scene go without mention of Yellow Eyes — especially following the release of their third full-length Sick with Bloom two years back. That album in particular was a grounded, more straightforward approach to “postmodern” black metal amid more esoteric offerings from Krallice and Liturgy. Yellow Eyes, however, did not lack any texture or complexity; rather, they thrived in them, just perhaps more subtly, and within a more rigid instrumental framework.

Although any notion of subtlety goes bye-bye when you see Yellow Eyes perform live: foreboding, dark, climactic, raw… but above all else, shockingly present. Not that Sick with Bloom was desperately lacking it, but that performative energy/spirit has been of great use to Yellow Eyes on their upcoming fourth full-length Immersion Trench Reverie. The new album sees a renewed invigoration and aptitude for experimentation for the band, but they’re just as surefooted and aware as always. Check out an exclusive stream of the album’s fourth track “Velvet on the Horns” below.

The entire gamut of paces Yellow Eyes explores on Immersion Trench Reverie is on display throughout “Velvet on the Horns,” from its patient intro to its bewildering climax, and finally toward its quiet and uncertain release. Back-throat yowls and screeches generate significant dark atmosphere throughout, coloring the otherwise crisply produced guitars and drumming. All the while, the music seems to dance from moment to moment, with transitions well-blended for a seamless effect. To its benefit, “Velvet on the Horns” feels woven together (non-linear and unpredictable); the band have indeed sharply increased their arrangement complexity.

Yellow Eyes, perhaps with a newfound sense of confidence then, are not afraid of over-expression. Guitar riffs go on spasmodic asides and blast beats explode without warning; tracks may be short (save for the ten-minute finale), but each one packs an unique array of one-two punches. The band has always been well-groomed, but they’ve managed with Immersion Trench Reverie to be leaner (yet wilder) than ever. Tracks like “Velvet on the Horns” feel optimized — no moments wasted, no asks for the listener’s patience — without detriment to their complexity or flow. Still retaining their no-nonsense magic, Yellow Eyes has muscled their sound toward greater eloquence and more enthralling drama.

Immersion Trench Reverie releases October 20th via Gilead Media.

yellow eyes press photo

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