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Suicidal black metal for bedtime - 94%

BlackMetal213, August 9th, 2015

When Mine Eyes Blacken was a very short-lived DSBM project. Formed in 2008 and after releasing this self-titled debut in 2009, the plug would be pulled on this project, erasing any hope for a future release. It seems like the thing to do for a lot of DSBM projects is to release only one album and then call it quits. I'm not sure as to why this is but even with only this one full-length, WMEB has made a definite mark on the genre of DSBM. This is one of the saddest, most droning albums to come out of the genre in its entire history. I may be a bit biased due to my love for this style of music but this album really is something else, and I believe it to be essential listening.

The guitar tone on this album is extremely thin and raw, however, unlike a lot of other bands in this field, the bass is extremely thick. This is a rather investing anomaly that still surprises me after hearing this album four years after hearing it for the first time. A lot of these bands mute the bass completely out of the music or even go as far as to not utilize the bass guitar whatsoever. WMEB treats the bass quite different. It is at times even louder than the electric guitar. For example, take the song "Secluded Within Sorrow, Solace Awaits". The bass is extremely loud in the mix, and underneath, we hear the guitar riffs following the pattern of the bass. Usually, because the bass isn't loud, the guitars take precedence and the bass follows their pattern. However, on this album, specifically this first song, the bass is "the man". It sets the path for the music and the guitars and drums follow. "Beneath Pale Stars" shows the guitar playing a bigger role, especially with its melancholic clean break, but the bass is still quite high in the mix, and because of this, WMEB has created a very unorthodox DSBM record.

Mort is obviously an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist. He is the only member of the project, and does everything by himself here. The drums are not made up of constant blastbeats, but they also aren't played extremely slow throughout the entire 48-minute runtime either. There is a healthy amount of double bass and drum fills on this album. This helps add more variation throughout the guitar and bass driven ambient black metal fog we experience here. The songs are all long, especially the 20 plus minute long "Within Deaths Embrace". So, with the fairly varied drumming, the music continues to stay interesting, even on the album's longer tracks. The drums also sound amazing and are mixed perfectly within the music. They are not too loud, but aren't quiet either.

Mort definitely is in pain, or at least he was when recording this album. His vocals are mixed somewhat low, but are full of sorrow and despair. He sounds like he is buried alive in a coffin, trying to scream loud enough to be heard above ground. However, because he is buried too deep, no one can hear him. So he is left to rot away and die underneath the earth, where he will decay into nothingness. His vocals could have been mixed slightly higher here, but really, this is also somewhat of an asset to the music. It adds that feeling of decay and the distance of being buried alive. While it hurts the music somewhat, it also enhances it, which is truly something else. Mort does not utilize the traditional black metal rasp, rather the howl-like vocals common with a lot of other DSBM acts.

Sure, the bass is a bit too prevalent in the mix and the guitars could have been louder. Sure, the vocals could have been louder as well. However, I feel if anything were to change in the sound of this album, it could genuinely hurt the music and the atmosphere. This is a very unique DSBM album and it is often overlooked and left behind in the shadows. It definitely deserves to be heard by more fans so the genre and I'm sure a lot of people would enjoy it if they gave it a chance. So go ahead, let this album invade your ears as you drift away into a dark slumber. What have you got to lose, except your happiness and sanity?