Immersion Trench Reverie
- Year 2017
- Genre Black Metal
- Country United States
- Label Gilead MediaSibir Records
- Rating Excellent
Over the past seven years Yellow Eyes has been offering their own take on black metal, channeling both the tranquil and mysterious side of nature alongside its unbridled fury. Their fourth full length record ‘Immersion Trench Reverie’ has refined these elements even further, utilizing the same mixture of mid-tempo and fast paced riffing while adding in more complexity and variation than before. In some ways it feels like an incremental step forward from predecessor ‘Sick With Bloom’ than a huge leap forward, but the songwriting is once again in top form and with additional nuances Yellow Eyes is able to balance the familiar with the unknown in a truly engaging manner.
…the fluid nature of the songs allows the band to lull the listener into a state of tranquility before unleashing a torrent of cold, abrasive riffing at them…
Part of the reason ‘Immersion Trench Reverie’ is likely to feel so familiar to listeners who spent a good deal of time is the way it was recorded. Yellow Eyes returned to the same cabin in Connecticut to capture this material, and as a result the two albums share similar acoustics. But this doesn’t mean that the band has simply repeated what they did previously, as you’ll find the guitars sound a bit fuller than before and the drums have been given even more emphasis. These subtle tweaks are used in conjunction with songwriting that provides more twists and turns than before, with each of the six tracks regularly switching tempos and moving between fast paced attacks on the listener and slower, introspective passages. It’s more unpredictable than before and the fluid nature of the songs allows the band to lull the listener into a state of tranquility before unleashing a torrent of cold, abrasive riffing at them. ‘Immersion Trench Reverie’ also incorporates numerous field recordings from the Skarstad brothers’ month long stay in Siberia, and they’re implemented in a way that adds a sense of mystery and the unknown to the compositions. This may seem like a small nuance overall but it plays a large role in making the material that much more engaging, as the interplay between the harsh, cold tonality and sense of wonder present from the sound clips creates a stunning and at times overwhelming atmosphere.
The instrumentation may yield some warmer textures at times, but the vocals keep things firmly grounded in abrasion and violence. Will Skarstad’s shrieks are still downright blood curdling, and with the vocals once again placed near the front of the mix each word feels like it’s piercing through your skin. This holds true even when the guitar tone has mellowed out, creating an overall sound that provokes a sense of wonder and dread at the same time. ‘Immersion Trench Reverie’ only offers up a reprieve during some of the aforementioned field recordings, but even these give off a somber tone.
Yellow Eyes’ latest comes off as a natural progression from ‘Sick With Bloom’, and the subtle additions have resulted in their best effort yet. Where some of their previous work started to blur together by the end, the increase in fluid transitions and complex layers of sound along with the variety of the field recordings allows ‘Immersion Trench Reverie’ to avoid this issue. It’s an album that you can get truly lost in and with an atmosphere that invokes both a sense of wonder and dread, this group has carved out their own space within black metal.