Benjamin John Power aka Blanck Mass, one half of Fuck Buttons, started his solo career in 2011 with the Blanck Mass LP, a not entirely focused drone record that paved the way for its successors. In 2015 he signed for the industrial label Sacred Bones, a choice that will majorly influence his next album: 2015’s Dumb Flesh. Introducing techno and electro-industrial elements, aspects that are strongly established also in his latest release, World Eater released the 3rd March still on Sacred Bones Records.
As the album cover suggests, in its 48 minutes World Eater leaves very little space to contemplate or relax. Instead the imaginary that the producer depicts is haunting and obsessive. It’s a doomed world the one Blanck Mass is trying to escape from, track by track, beat by beat: “Maybe subconsciously this was some kind of countermeasure to restore some personal balance,” Power explained in an interview.
The opening third of the album takes no prisoners, there’s not a glimpse of hope and the martial, almost danceable bass of “Resus Negative” sucks down the listener into numbness, while “Please”, the third track, offers a bright but temporary salvation. The trademark distorted and obscure vocals, a constant in Benjamin’s productions, are picturing a desire to evacuate but the fourth track “The Rat” is the most dominant of the lotto and it echoes every influence present in the album: Skynny Puppy and Nine Inch Nails, label companion Pharmakon, and even the apocalyptical techno of The Future Sound of London brings something to the table.
Passed the half of the album there’s a thin decline of intensity. “Silent Treatment” (probably the less enjoyable track on the record) seems like a reprise of “Please” and fails to capture the attention of the listeners alongside its 7 minutes of lenght. It’s a significant missed opportunity to maintain continuity by the producer, even because the last two tracks are the most interesting and they provide a terrific end to the journey. “Minnesota / Ears Fors / Naked” is simply brilliant, starting with noisy and industrial drones, evolving into a rich, fading synth and ending with an impressive melody, so good that it could erect a whole song upon its shoulders. “Hive Mind” features liquid synths and tribal beats, spreading the only moment of gratification and pleasure of the album, and fitting perfectly to close the listening.
What Blanck Mass was capable of achieving here is trivial and uncommon: throughout his solo career he managed to distinguish himself from the Fuck Buttons project while forging his own sound record after record, designing one of the most interesting electronic project around. World Eater represents a great apocalyptic soundtrack, a long and arduous trip where the listener is invited to find a light at the end of an hostile tunnel.
You can listen to the full album on Spotify below: