ALBUM REVIEW: Dean Blunt, Black Metal 2
Dean Blunt is an artist who’s work I’ve never been entirely familiar with. Black Metal was a pretty cool if not overlong display of rock, rap and electronic experimentalism. Other than that, I also really enjoyed his contribution to A$AP Rocky’s TESTING on the song with Kodak Black. His U.K. electronic/trip-hop project Babyfather was also interesting, but overall I’ve just never really been able to get into him for whatever reason. With this new album Black Metal 2, I’ve been able to see his vision and artistry a little more clearly. Cutting down the sequel to his most well known project to date to only 25 minutes was a risk, but in my opinion it was a good decision.
Just like Eartheater’s Phoenix, Black Metal 2 feels like apocalyptic singer-songwriter music. His vocals and the tone of the instrumentals just sound like something is dying or coming to an end. Tracks like the opener “VIGIL” and “LA RAZA” feel like subdued motifs laced with lyrics about guns, drugs, violence and betrayal. Unlike on Phoenix or Black Metal 1, he has completely ditched the sound play and avant-garde noise that filled 10 minute songs. For the most part, we get a pretty simple palette of instrumentation here: effect laden guitars, simple drums, and that’s basically it, sometimes a violin. While the simplification of the style is appreciated, this album can sometimes drag due to a lack of variation. I still think Blunt really does capture that balance between light and dark quite well, this album is suited equally for late nights and 98 degree days in the sun.
While songs like “WOOSAH” go over the 2-minute mark this album sets as its limit for the songs, it really doesn’t do much for me, especially without a vocalist behind it. “the rot” makes much better use of its 3-minute runtime. The track feels folky and vast and Blunt and his female guest vocalist sing lyrics like “I told you to leave, you never do it”. The album has a pretty good range of emotions in general, a song like “SKETAMINE” feels kind of sexy and menacing, while “SEMTEX” reminds me of King Krule but if he was committing crimes. This is a pretty solid album I’d say, I just wish Blunt went a little more bold and longer on most of the shorter and less intense tracks.