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Review: Yellow Eyes - Rare Field Ceiling
Yellow Eyes
Rare Field Ceiling

Label: Gilead Media
Year released: 2019
Duration: 45:50
Tracks: 6
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: June 18, 2020
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Readers Rating
Rare Field Ceiling

Rated 4.33/5 (86.67%) (9 Votes)

Yellow Eyes are a New York-based Black Metal group with a reputation for being really weird, but they happened to fly under my radar until this album stirred some waves last year. I'm typically wary of bands with that reputation in Black Metal, as it often translates either to noisy, incomprehensible gibberish in place of actual music or wannabe Post Rock/Shoegaze infected nonsense, but I'm happy to report that Rare Field Ceiling has neither of these problems. In fact, I'd say the hype around it is completely justified.

Describing Rare Field Ceiling is really difficult, for while parallels can be drawn with other USBM acts like False and Wolves in the Throne Room, Yellow Eyes have a sound all their own. Every song on here is a rambling, emotional epic built on cold, expansive riffs that build into vibrant tremolo leads that ring like bells and wring out off-kilter melodies before twisting into new directions, all bookended with ambient sections of bells and choirs that help the tracks seamlessly transition into one another to make this a complete album rather than just a collection of songs. The production complements all this, being murky and dissonant while giving every element enough room to stand out on its own. The vocals are a bit of a standard rasp that doesn't add much, but they're kept low in the mix and aren't a dominant part of this album, leaving that to the stellar guitar work and surprisingly compelling rhythm section.

The lyrics deserve a special mention, as they're some of the strangest shit I've ever read. They all paint mundane pictures of nature along with claustrophobic images of modernity, and it's all done in a manner so abstract and bizarre as to be almost incomprehensible. They seem to be going more for evoking certain emotions rather than telling coherent narratives, but I'd be hard-pressed to tell you what lines such as "The veining of a pyramid/The blindness of a water dream/The glint above the swollen tree/The shrimp inside the pillowcase" and "Old black mouth garage roared open/Damp rope teeth/Sharp baleen breath/Blue tarp wrinkled tongue said something/Unfinished thought" are supposed to make me feel besides confusion.

I approached this as a skeptic, but Yellow Eyes have crafted a powerful and involving sound that evokes conflicting feelings of isolation and freedom, cold and warmth, sorrow and pride, all while sounding like nothing else out there. I'll have to dig into the rest of their output to see if there's more like this, but even if the rest of it sucks, the path that led to Rare Field Ceiling was well worth taking. Highly recommended.

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