Review Summary: World Eater takes the listener on a captivating tour of the ugly, beautiful worlds it consumes.
Blanck Mass’s 2015 album Dumb Flesh
offered a masterful synthesis of content and presentation, its title and cover cryptically yet accurately representing the music contained within it. Dumb Flesh
was, as Sputnikmusic’s own Eli K. put it, “the aural equivalent to all of those trashy club scenes you saw in ’90s movies…With sweat and flesh roiling about, bodies glide by one another in a haphazard fashion while dim lights flash around a grimy dance floor.” Yet the longer the album went on, the more that image dissolved and became abstract. Accordingly, the cover of Dumb Flesh
was a portrait of human flesh twisting and interweaving in much the same way it might in a crowded, steamy dance club, but detached from any context that might establish which parts of whose bodies were on display.
Blanck Mass’s third album, World Eater
, solidifies this approach as Benjamin John Power’s modus operandi. True to the album’s title and the ravenous maw on its cover, each of the tracks on World Eater
paints a picture of a world--just vivid enough to be familiar--and then devours it, leaving a fascinatingly mangled version of its original form. “Rhesus Negative” is a frenetic chase scene through dirty cyberpunk streets, except when juxtaposed with a melody that twinkles and then soars, tearing the pounding rhythms away from their familiar element and into a much more surreal dimension. “Please” begins as a subdued scattering of keyboard notes like raindrops in a forest, but then it starts hailing shattered fragments of triumphant, soulful EDM. “Minnesota / Eas Fors / Naked” erupts as a cacophony of field recordings, including everything from a waterfall to drums being thrown down the stairs, before dissolving into an ambient drone of synthesizers, and then finally settling on a muted vaporwave loop. Then there’s standout track “Silent Treatment,” which eviscerates a choir and combines the shredded pieces with thumping drums and sweeping harp to create a sort of ersatz orchestra. The end result is magnificent, a captivating journey through a broken yet gorgeous realm. And really, that sentence could easily sum up World Eater
at its best. The worlds that the album explores and then consumes are often beautiful and sometimes compellingly ugly, but in the last fading moments of “Hive Mind,” the listener is left grateful for the opportunity to bear witness to such an engrossing meal.