Review: Yellow Eyes - Immersion Trench Reverie

Although Yellow Eyes are around since about seven years and released three albums yet, I just recently became aware of them. My interest even grew when I heard that drummer Mike is also involved in Fell Voices and the awesome Vanum and filled in for Ash Borer on stage. On their recent tour through Europe I visited their first show in Cologne and was instantly blown away by the power the quartet delivered. As I knew about the difficulties in forehand (singer and guitar-player Will injured his hand when cutting the cover for the tapes of “Immersion Trench Reverie” and their equipment literally arrived last minute for the show) it was even more impressive to see the band showing massive presence in a semi-legal venue on relatively poor backline.

Their latest release “Immersion Trench Reverie” is not less impressive. It offers an organic sound. Especially on the drums that are not polished but raw, with the same feeling that they had on that show in that small venue. What some might interpret as “low-fi” surely results in the process of recording, which happened in a cabin in Connecticut and gives the album even more substance. But the unconventional sound of the drums is the only draw-back this record offers. The guitars act outstanding and create impressive walls of polyphonic harmonies. Next to the grim and agonized vocals they form this very special mood that makes “Immersion Trench Reverie” outstanding!

There is no track on this album that does not contain wonderful polyphonic melodies, ranging from cold, deserted and frost-bitten to majestic, from hypnotic and haunting to playful and thrilling. Those harmonies create a dense atmosphere that is exciting from beginning to the end. Especially as every song is knot to the previous with an acoustic stringent sample, filled with an omni-present carillon and even female chorals. That makes “Immersion Trench Reverie” a whole as every song tells a story for itself.

As “Old Alpine Pang” or “Blue As Blue” show the more majestic aspect of Yellow Eyes, “Shrillness In The Heated Grass” becomes pure awesomeness. It is driven by incredibly catchy harmonies that are both hypnotic and disturibing, but still have this exciting twists. Partly the melodies turn into opposite direction and create a really eerie mood. Yet still they develop further and further, incorporating a wave-like part for the first time on this album and take interesting twists.

The title-track continues with some influences from wave or post-punk as well, offers some more dreamy and playful moments, even some escapism just to break down in a ghastly down-tempo part which has a beautiful harmonic solution again. It is full of fire and energy and great melodies.

And on the other hand “Velvet On The Horns” lives from its minimal and repetitive riffs, creating an hypnotic and nightmarish atmosphere. Yet it is still intoxicating and offers moments of escapism as well. “Jubilat” continues in this way, offering a wide range of harmonics and emotions, closing the album in an intense and fiery way.

After an intense journey over 45 minutes, Yellow Eyes created an outstanding album. It is both majestic and fierce, offering forward-thinking and formidable melodies while maintaining the raw and direct attitude of the musics roots. “Immersion Trench Reverie” is an album that lives up to its name. It takes the listener and draws him into a beautiful yet disturbing dream. And with this image in mind the extraordinary artwork of this record makes totally sense. Although it does not fulfil any genre-clich├ęs. For me it is another positive aspect on this records. What a pity that Yellow Eyes didn’t have any LP available on their tour through Europe. But at least the tape came with a download code. And a very nice package, including all lyrics on in a minimalistic booklet.