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Black Metal 2

by Dean Blunt

Released June 11, 2021 via Rough Trade Records

Reviewed June 29, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
the rot (58%), VIGIL (47%), SKETAMINE (42%)

Seven years after his initial masterpiece, Dean Blunt returns to give another helping of his distinct brand of malaise on Black Metal 2. It very much so feels like a compendium piece to his first grand statement, but with a different attitude. Although not as bold, ambitious, or experimental as its sister release, Black Metal 2 excels in creating a sophisticated atmosphere. As opposed to the near hour long odyssey, Blunt’s 23 minutes of straight melancholia deliver some of his most focused work yet. Those 23 minutes provide a mirror into one’s own past—like viewing yourself, bright-eyed and naive a decade ago, while also realizing the great unease that’s made a permanent residence inside your thought process now. Blunt artfully crafts these unfamiliar worlds to create an ethereal nature that leaks into every part of the album from its care-free vocals to the gentle instrumentation. He perfectly illustrates the feeling of a never-ending day-to-day routine that’s filled with nothingness. Where there was once a fight to change, now only exists a cog of the machine. The lax nature of 2 might be depressing at first, but it almost becomes reassuring with how in tune it is with itself. Memories you once knew so well and held dearly are forever in the past, so now’s the time to try and move forward. – Jared (8.5/10)

Dean Blunt’s Black Metal is an album indescribable in almost every category, and one of a kind in nature. So, to conceive a sequel for said uniqueness would seem futile to most. But to Blunt, a man who savors the pushing of others’ buttons, it’s only natural that he followed up his most impressive work with Black Metal 2. Although a 23-minute runtime could never bottle up the same expansive lushness of its predecessor, Black Metal 2 still holds the essence of what made Blunt’s 2014 release so enamoring. It lacks the emotional resonance that the long-winded tracks of Black Metal have, but it’s almost as if Blunt knows this. He creates vignettes where monuments once stood. With the help of Joanne Robertson, the duo tears down what was and rebuilds something from Black Metal’s ground zero. It’s impressive, and Black Metal 2 even steps out of its first installment’s shadow. – Ben (Synth) (8/10)

The second album in Dean Blunt's Black Metal series offers up a more succinct and concise project. At just over 20 minutes in runtime, it pulls back on any overly lengthy expeditions and narrows its sights on a more fulfilling project. Black Metal 2 is chilled below zero yet radiates a warmth that's indescribable. It’s fatherly in a sense, like reaffirmation that everything will work out, and if it doesn't the end is not nigh, as small victories are where the real fruit lies. One day at a time we live this life; disappointment is inevitable, but how one responds solidifies character and strengthens the roots. The album’s extremes head in different directions, yet somehow always meet halfway. It creates an abundance of space—musically minimal to a degree—for spirit and essence to manifest. Succumb to the late night lounge light vibes. Bask in the beauty of Dean Blunt's stripped back approach. Take a trip through melancholic pastures, draped in sullen smoothness. Not many projects have an aura quite like this. – Peter (8/10)

Jared: 8.5/10 | Cam: 8.3/10 | Dominick: 8.3/10

Ben (Synth): 8/10 | DeVán: 8/10 | Peter: 8/10


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