Album Review: Blanck Mass-World Eater
The worst part about World Eater, the third album from Benjamin John Power’s solo project Blanck Mass, is that it ends.
A lot of words could be used to describe this new album, but it seems that the most common ones that are thrown around are words like ‘abrasive’ and ‘loud’. Those could definitely be applied to any of Power’s albums, whether it’s one of the albums from his duo Fuck Buttons, or one of his own. Even with the overbearing volume being a near-incessant quality in the tracks from Blanck Mass, the style throughout all three albums tends to shift wildly. The debut was almost completely ambient. Hardly anything that could be considered percussion was present. The next one, Dumb Flesh, had a lot more ferocity involved. There were entrancing drum loops and incredibly thunderous synths sewn into the whole project. Now there’s World Eater, which appears to be a carefully crafted mix of the two albums.
Blanck Mass has probably never made a track that would be considered ‘pop’ to the general public, but that has changed now. An especially potent example of this is the song ‘Silent Treatment’, released before the entire album came out. In this track, the trope of taking split-second clips of singing voices and splicing them together to create something unintelligible is used to perhaps its fullest potential. At some sections of the track, there are up to three different layers of vocals playing at one time. This only adds to a texture that could even be called beautiful.
In most of the tracks on World Eater, there are also lush filtered sounds being utilized in every small detail. This sounds more like an element taken from his 2011 debut album. In that, there were soundscapes full of ambiance, and some tracks were even reminiscent of full-blown orchestral pieces. That sound worked tremendously well on that album, and so did the roaring presentation of maximized synthesizers on the 2015 album Dumb Flesh. World Eater takes the absolute best parts of each work and combines them, while simultaneously introducing sounds that are radio-friendly. It’s his most accessible work to date.
It’s surprisingly pretty. That’s an odd word choice to describe an album by a man so brutal, but it fits here. Even Power himself stated that he has never come this close to making actual love songs before. The track ‘Please’ does sound like a genuine instrumental for a poppy love song written in the year 2028. There are actually more mellow spots in the track where the aforementioned chopped-and-screwed vocals arrange verses. Of course, they’re completely incoherent, but they vary like typical sentences in the English language do. That track, and the closing track ‘Hive Mind’, are just a few meters short of groovy tracks from a modern-day rave. The entire album itself can get noisy, but it’s not harsh noise like Prurient or Pharmakon. It’s almost soothing. Pure class.