Blanck Mass’s Brash Aggression
Thursday, 11:30 p.m., Kings
Update: Due to a visa problem, Blanck Mass is not performing at Hopscotch. Boulevards will replace the band in its 11:30 slot Thursday night at Kings, and Pharmakon has been added to perform at 12:30.
On the sleeve of the vinyl release of World Eater, the new LP from Edinburgh’s Blanck Mass, a sliver of writing advises the listener to “PLAY THIS AT MAXIMUM VOLUME.” Sure, plenty of “loud” records make this half-hearted request in liner notes. But World Eater demands it, and might actually damage your speaker setup if you get too brave.
A convoluted, gorgeous mishmash of violent noise, weirdo trance, and speed-cut vocal shards over an accessible synth-pop underbelly, World Eater sits among the best industrial records of this decade. Every track is a writhing, menacing mass of repetition. The effect is deeply hypnotic and can squish the album’s run time into a fast-moving blur.
Embed World Eater:
“Rhesus Negative” is a stunning nine-minute piece of collage that chops up R & B, black metal, and choral vocal shreds into an exhilarating grind. With no warning, field recordings ooze in and out of the record to provide some relief, cutting through the chaos with disorienting countryside excursions.
The aesthetic is strange, but it should come as no great surprise to attentive fans. After all, the project is the solo alias of musician Benjamin John Power, half of the iconoclastic skree-noise/drone duo Fuck Buttons. That band pushed harsh music to its disintegrating limits over several memorable records, like 2009’s ecstatic, masterful Tarot Sport. Longtime devotees will feel right at home in the extreme, accessible dissonance that Power carries to his solo material. Call it “counterintuitively danceable.”
The tastemaking NYC label Sacred Bones released the last two Blanck Mass records, which feels like a thematic bull’s-eye, given the label’s reputation for brooding synth music. In standard Sacred Bones fashion, Power’s secret positive outlook is tucked away in the liner notes, where listeners are advised, “support your local LGBT and animal rights organizations.”