Yellow Eyes
Rare Field Ceiling


4.5
superb

Review

by siddhartha USER (5 Reviews)
June 27th, 2019 | 41 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist


There has always been something so admirable and intrinsic about Yellow Eyes’ approach to black metal. There is a deep rooted catharsis that can be found in a lot of their music. From interviews I’ve read and other information I’ve accumulated, they’ve always seemed to be a humble, contemplative, entity just like their namesake would suggest; a beast that dwells in the shadows. Though not a timid one, if you were to turn your back on it, it would mean your life. Maybe even a beast or creature that revels in being in that darkness. They’ve never been for flashy gimmicks or extravagant subject matter in lyricism or themes. Recurrent black metal conversation-pieces like politics and religion have no merit here, it’s all about nature, loss, and isolation. Yellow Eyes are a four piece ‘cascadian’ black metal band that's been quietly making waves since the beginning of this decade. Hailing from New York and led by the heart and soul of this project since day one, brothers Will and Sam Skarstad. For anyone that was paying attention, these guys stood out from their contemporaries in an amicable, but unique way. Oddly, why they do isn’t as apparent as you’d think. They were salient to me for their modest, yet, somewhat insouciant aesthetic to their music. They've never had a problem with creating an encapsulating atmosphere or hypnotic anguish well. Nevertheless, there has consistently been this lingering feeling of something not quite distinguished yet; that something being — an unbeknownst fulfillment of their potential. It’s hard for me to articulate into words, and not that any of their previous work wasn’t “good enough” or anything like that, but it has always felt like they’ve had this vision for their music for some time now and have finally, comprehensively, honed in on it.

Rare Field Ceiling isn’t a reinvention of their modus operandi by any means, but it’s a more than gratifying refinement of their sound. The dissonant yet melodious frenzy of tremolo picked guitars, the thunderous blast beats, and thumping double bass are all still here. As well as the tortured vocals that feel like they’re shouting at you from a deep dark crevice, of course not in anger, but in sorrow. The band hasn’t felt this ardent since 2014 and something internally is different. This album sounds more poised in some regard, and there is this urgency to the songs on this that's never been as evident as here. I honestly can’t remember Yellow Eyes ever sounding this brazen, and wholeheartedly confident in what they’re doing, and it’s glorious. The guitar playing is much more varied and dynamic; there’s also a lot more stand out riffs and memorable passages woven into these songs. They have always had great song structure and transitions, but this album kicks it up a notch. Hell, even the bass plays a more integral role, and has a surprisingly welcome presence on this LP. Improved composition and phrasing presented here elevate this above the rest of their discography in an understated manner. The technicality on display is also taken to new lengths where you can not only hear the difference, but it really feels like they are taking a deeper, denser, approach to what they have been meddling with all these years. What’s overt when listening to this is how assured and grown Yellow Eyes’ sound has become as an integrated collective. For instance, take the venomous intro to ‘No Dust’, or the triumphant guitar chorus and infectious bass line dancing around ‘Light Delusion Curtain’. There is more exuberant routes being taken with their flow and song structure. All six songs are distinct in their ideas and feel purposeful at all times. The band has never been a stranger to icy atmospheres, never failing to leave the listener cold, or even equanimous. But what's made itself even more apparent, is the warmth found in many parts of this album. Warmth has always been a quasi-transient property in their music. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always been an underlying quality of their body of work, but now they're able to articulate it as songwriters effortlessly. I was taken aback when I first heard the song, 'Nutrient Painting'. It was an anomaly at first, but it also felt inherent simultaneously. The song is also quite pulchritudinous, in a ruinous kind of way, of course. The unbridled melancholia oozing out of this song gives their 2013 track, ‘In This Stillness’ a run for its money. And it might just be the most exultant song I’ve heard from Yellow Eyes thus far.

These guys have always been good at tapping into an almost trance-like wave of tremolo picked harmonies that evoke a feeling, as I can only describe as, ‘coziness’, which would be lost to the uninitiated undoubtedly. A feeling I can only liken to the color that is celadon. Like most of their discography, all six of the songs present here are accompanied by field recordings and other serene things. These samples and their idyllic acoustic/clean guitar breaks have always provided a tranquil backdrop for their brand of black metal. Though, Rare Field Ceiling is mostly comprised of reposeful wind chimes and a haunting vocal choir of women often, rather than the ethereal guitars sprinkled through previous work. The recordings often fading in and out being appropriated as a segue or transition. Acting as an all encompassing bridge to the next and previous song concurrently, like how vines of an ivy or climbing purple bell plant would envelop the isolated cabin they probably recorded this in. These samples were collected during Will and Sam’s travels to a myriad of different countries whilst writing this album. The final track ‘Maritime Flare’ is a complete amalgamation of all the samples scattered throughout the album and some. It’s six minutes of tranquil isolation and gloom accompanied by Will’s screaming that manages to sound even more remote and ghostly than before, being used here as a distant echo to great effect. All while radiating an opaque guilness. I personally didn’t really care for their 2015 release, Sick With Bloom, as I felt it was plagued with meandering writing and at its worst, aimless song structures. It didn't feel nearly as inspired and it was missing that ‘oomph’ something like, Hammer of Night had in droves.

Yellow Eyes has proved through an expansion of their repertoire that they’re still a force to be reckoned with, rectifying any previous doubt, as one of the best USBM groups working today. The album being more accessible than anything made prior, while maintaining their esoteric charm. Still keeping that mysticism of not giving everything to you at face value. Requiring the listeners patience and repeated listens to unpack it all. This album is emotive and much more defined than anything they’ve done since The Desert Mourns. It’s my utmost pleasure to report that Rare Field Ceiling is the summation of all things substantial and worthwhile Yellow Eyes is and has become. It’s frigid labyrinthine of riffs are a delight to unravel. Managing to sound profound while still maintaining delicacy. This is the album I always knew they had in them and this is a resolute band at the top of their game, you won’t want to miss it.


user ratings (73)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Xenophanes STAFF (3.8)
Blut Aus New York...



Comments:Add a Comment 
brainmelter
June 27th 2019


6506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

buy/listen to album here:

tried something different. first review in a hot minute and I have much to learn, feedback is welcome!

Digging: Grey Aura - 2: De bezwijkende deugd

Papa Universe
June 27th 2019


22234 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

can't wait to jam this bad boy



yellow POS

deezer666
June 27th 2019


4529 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Maybe my fave record this year. So good.

clavier
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2019


954 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

looking forward to hearing this, their last one was decent but not mind-blowing

Digging: for your health/Shin Guard - Death of Spring

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
June 27th 2019


25585 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Fuck yes. I will read this when I get home. This band is crazy good, I love their style.

naughtcturnal
June 28th 2019


1082 Comments


pos

I really liked Immersion Trench Reverie and am looking forward to hearing this. Not super familiar with anything else they've done prior to ITR but I must get on that too.

Digging: Monarque - Jusqu' la Mort

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
June 28th 2019


16295 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just got this downloaded, good review man. Will share thoughts.

Digging: Lingua Ignota - Caligula

Hawks
June 28th 2019


72498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I’ve always dug this band but I’ve never considered them anything really special. Seems like this album might change that, will jam asap. m/

Digging: Falls of Rauros - Patterns in Mythology

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
June 28th 2019


25585 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I don't get up in arms about stuff like this often, but rating this any lower than a 4 seems crazy to me.

Relinquished
June 28th 2019


40461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's solid

Hawks
June 28th 2019


72498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I’m hype to hear it. m/

DungeonBoy
June 28th 2019


6254 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

pos bro, good review, good album

Digging: Falls of Rauros - Patterns in Mythology

Hawks
June 28th 2019


72498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Alright putting this on now.

Hawks
June 28th 2019


72498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

2 tracks in and this is already shaping up to be their best by far for me.

Hawks
June 28th 2019


72498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ok triple post but god damn is this absolutely amazing and their best album by a billion miles.



Hands down a top 3-5 album of the year for me so far and one of the most pleasant surprises in recent memory. Prob just overtook Misthyrming for best bm of 2019.

DungeonBoy
June 28th 2019


6254 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nutrient Painting is a jam and a half

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
June 28th 2019


25585 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

now this is more like it

Hawks
June 28th 2019


72498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I’m blown away by this. 2019 is def the year of black metal. So many monumental releases.

Pikazilla
June 28th 2019


1354 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gotta check. Hammer was awesome! Fantastic album. We shall see if they've managed to bring some of that quality form back.

Azog
June 28th 2019


193 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

God dammit, you guys are right!



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