Review Summary: After a rather fulfilling sophomore release last year, Yellow Eyes decide to grace our ears once again.
After releasing a fairly strong sophomore album last year in the form of Hammer of Night
, Yellow Eyes decided to grace us with a surprise this year in the form of the two-track EP, The Desert Mourns
. After releasing last year’s exceptional record, one would expect a “bonus” EP such as this to include sub-par material or leftovers of the previous recording process--“b sides” if you will. What one will find after indulging in this release, however, is that neither of the two featured tracks include any dip in quality when compared to the rest of the band’s discography. What The Desert Mourns
does feature, however, is two tracks of slightly longer duration than the rest of the band’s material, totaling about fifteen minutes in length that are actually among the band's absolute strongest pieces to date.
If you were a fan of Yellow Eyes’ brand of fairly raw, slightly technical--almost Krallice-esque--brand of USBM before, then the quality of this EP should be of little surprise. While not being terribly experimental, the band have by now clearly honed their craft, effectively weaving their brand of raw, melody-driven black metal between fast blasting sections and slower, mid-paced atmospheric pieces.
If this band excels at anything, it’s song structuring; through the whole of this EP, the band shifts through riffs and sections flawlessly, each section flowing into the next with excellent precision. Whether it be a blasting section transitioning into something slower or vice versa, this EP never feels as if it’s slamming on the breaks, or taking a hard left turn anywhere; rather, it somehow manages to flow section by section, switching between riffs, melodies and drum patterns smoothly, never causing the listener the slightest hint of discomfort.
While each song begins quietly with sparse, atmospheric melodic guitarring, each is able to represent a fairly different side of the band's style. For most of its eight minutes, "The Desert Mourns" focuses most of its time on fast, melodic blast beat driven sections, whereas the second, "One Rock for the Wild Dog" seems to focus less on ferocity and more on creating a mid-paced melodic atmosphere before eventually crescendoing with a short flurry of melodic blasting.
As proven by their previous record, Yellow Eyes are definitely a US black metal band of which to take note. While not as progressive or technical as Krallice nor as apocalyptic as Ash Borer, they have definitely created a niche for themselves in their nation's black metal scene through their sheer songwriting ability and sense of melody, expertly weaving together melody and ferocity to create a style all their own. Although this two-track EP may have come as a surprise to many, future releases will definitely not go so unnoticed by those truly keeping score.