Blanck Mass - Animated Violence Mild - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Blanck Mass - Animated Violence Mild

by Tim Sentz Rating:8 Release Date:2019-08-16
Blanck Mass - Animated Violence Mild
Blanck Mass - Animated Violence Mild

While the world anxiously awaits the next Fuck Buttons album - going on six years now - the world of experimental noise has lately received delectable morsels from one half of the project - Benjamin John Power under the Blanck Mass moniker. Since Slow Focus, Blanck Mass has been the primary output for Fuck Buttons related material; Andrew Hung (the other half of the duo) has gravitated more towards conventional pop with 2017’s Realisantionship. So for the better part of the decade, Power has been terrorizing their following with the crushing noise like no other. 

Experimental noise can be a tough pill to swallow. And with the Blanck Mass project, Power drifts into murky territories often, that makes pinpointing his style difficult. On his biggest single “Please” from 2017’s World Eater, chiptunes and cymbal crashes can be heard, with only slight distortion. It’s this swallowing mantra, pulling this R&B like hymn, but wholly unintelligible - further advocating for that “vocals as an instrument” ideology that experimental musicians tout. It’s effective, as it draws the audience into the delicate sounds being thrust towards us. 

But with Animated Violence Mild, Power strays from that tradition. Instead of the indecipherable angelic vocal samplings, Power gut-checks you with this screeching black-metal throat tearing scream. It becomes very apparent with “Death Drop” that this will be Power really pushing the limits on what the listener can handle. His music isn’t overly inviting, such is the case with experimental music, but Animated Violence Mild starts out timid but builds to this grand statement of goth and horror. It’s almost as if Power combed through Deafheaven’s catalog and chopped up every song they had, strung them out on a disembowelling table, and proceeded to… well, disembowel them, drawn and quartered and stretched beyond the conventional limits. 

This shift in style was necessary. Power has been playing with these traits for some time, even as far back as Tarot Sport. Pushing limits is what Fuck Buttons did best, and for every inviting synth or beat - like on “House vs. House” it’s all a powerful deception. Post-punky vibes aside, Blanck Mass delivers on promises of death-defying experimentation. Power is not the only person doing this today, but he certainly makes it more thrilling than most. He surrounds the bright and funky moments with dread and despair themed intensity. 

“Love is a Parasite” is one of the strongest cuts on Animated Violence Mild, it features groovy squeals, and reminds me of some forgotten racing arcade game soundtrack. It’s still that inviting feel but kicked up to 11 as those same black-metal tidbits come pounding into focus. Power isn’t playing around here (well, he is), he wants this to hit home and it does. Experimental noise is constantly overcrowded with a flavor-of-the-month producer who crackles with a single, then leaves much to be desired on full-length efforts. That’s not the case with Blanck Mass, Power is no tourist, he’s a veteran of the genre. He continues to utilize the gifts he acquired via Fuck Buttons to push forward in exciting ways, and that’s never been so fully realized than on Animated Violence Mild

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