Brooklyn, New York's Yellow Eyes are relatively new to the USBM game having just released their debut album in 2012. Despite the band's relative youth, the duo has already cranked out two stellar full length LPs, a split with Monument and now a 2-song EP titled The Desert Mourns. Up to this point, the band's output has been one of the best examples of modern, raw black metal available and this EP is no exception.
What sets Yellow Eyes apart from many of their peers is an understanding that song composition is one of the major factors that makes music truly compelling. It's easy enough for underground black metal bands to coast along; lazily relying on tired genre tropes and a cultivated grimmer-than-grim image to attract fans. It's much harder to craft songs that hold up over multiple listening sessions because they're written well and are emotionally engaging.
Both songs on the album, "The Desert Mourns" and "One Rock For the Wild Dog" respectively, are book ended with sparse ambient guitars, but in between each opening and closing passage is a frenetic typhoon of black metal. Throat shredding wails cut through buzzing guitars and blast beats, and just when it seems like the song is going to fly off the rails Yellow Eyes throw in a slower, more melodic passage. The tension created between these time and tonal changes give both songs a feeling of urgency – it feels like the band is rushing headlong toward the end of the song only to be interrupted repeatedly.
Yellow Eyes are still relatively unknown even by underground black metal standards. This doesn't seem to bother them and they plan to continue making music, but if ever a band deserved wider exposure it's these guys. They make it easy for fans, too. The Desert Mourns will only set you back $3 if you purchase the digital download on Bandcamp. There was a vinyl version available as well, but it's sold out. If you'd like a physical copy, a good way to incentivize the band to press more is by purchasing some of their other albums and merch which is also available through Bandcamp. Admittedly, this type of music isn't going to appeal to vanilla metalheads, but if you enjoy raw, sinister sounding black metal you can't do much better than Yellow Eyes.