At Last A Worthy Successor
There is a friend scowling. Trust and love twisted into a vicious snarl, frothing at the mouth with hate and violence. The earth tilts upside down as everything loses sense and meaning. Words are distorted and incomplete. The stars sing as the universe cries out something beautiful and the vacuum swallows everything. World Eater is violence and love, beauty and death, and the first taste of Benjamin John Power’s true artistic vision separate from Fuck Buttons.
It is impossible to discuss Blanck Mass without looking at his work within the context of Fuck Buttons, one of the most important noise artists in all of history. Power, also known as Blanck Mass, occasionally comprises half of the nigh unclassifiable duo known as Fuck Buttons, and tends to be the more dramatic of their two members. World Eater finally sees Power return to form as a noise musician after flirting with atmosphere and ambiance on his previous entries as Blanck Mass. The shift of this album is noticeable from the first few moments on “John Doe’s Carnival of Error,” which immediately call to mind the soft twinklings found on either Tarot Sport or Street Horrrsing, the bright sonic pallet painting pictures of starry nights. But there is the hint of something more sinister lurking in the background. This sinister feeling fully evolves on “Rhesus Negative,” which is an explosive burst of sound with screams straight out of the harsher tracks on Street Horrsing and a sonic forcefulness that hasn’t been seen from Power since “Rough Steez.”
Perhaps the most apt comparison to World Eater from the discography of Fuck Buttons would actually be the relatively recent venture of Slow Focus, as both records feature a more open production approach. However, the crisp sounds of Slow Focus are often traded in for a rougher static that rolls and collapses in on itself over and over. The differences and similarities are most noticeable on tracks like “Please” and “Silent Treatment,” which feature repetitive vocal samples splayed out atop a rough and rattling sample that, despite its viciousness, is disturbingly smooth. This strange dichotomy is the essence of Power’s allure in both Blanck Mass and Fuck Buttons. He has never been afraid to push the envelope of sonic exploration, often using the strangest of instruments — Fisher-Price microphones were featured heavily on songs in Street Horrsing — to create the most engaging of sounds. World Eater is no different. The sounds and production exhibited on this album are some of the most precious and vicious moments of music created this decade.
World Eater is an absolute revelation of an album. For anyone fearing that Fuck Buttons would never be properly recognized or lived up to, this album more than assuages those fears. If this were labeled as a Fuck Buttons album it would stand toe to toe with their utterly flawless discography. Blanck Mass has finally managed to create a work that balances his incredible ear for sounds with the structures that were once provided from bands like Mogwai and Explosions In the Sky. This album is a wholly unique experience that demands to be considered among the best of the year, if not the entire decade.