In this new, soaring, post-modern incarnation, American black metal band Yellow Eyes swaps tremolo and blast beats for acoustic arpeggios and minimalist synthesizers. The result is an album that defies all the conventions of the style, yet never loses its signature melancholy and tortured screams.
Master’s Murmur is promoted as an interim album, a complementary alter ego to a resolutely black metal opus due for release in 2024. And yet, the music it contains works so well on its own, such is the originality of the proposition. One almost wishes it would become the official formula for Yellow Eyes. The compositions breathe and, despite their short duration, weave a coherent thread through a variety of moods. The whole is always put together with attention to detail, with unusual instruments and varied sound samples superimposed on synthetic melodies and guitars. These additions extend the contemplative dimension of the music with evocations of nature and bygone times. The very sparing presence of drums also allows for a wide dynamic range, from a very sparse texture to something denser.
Master’s Murmur barely exceeds 30 minutes in length but manages to achieve a great deal in that short time. Yellow Eyes develops a captivating narrative from start to finish, with its share of dramatic twists and turns. The combination of timbres is refreshing and even opens up the field of black metal possibilities, proving that the genre has not run out of expressive means.