A heart that tentacles grow. Grey on anthracite. Simple, minimalist. Somehow matching to the music covered by this reduced artwork. Not in terms of minimalism, more about the bleak atmosphere. But even this is not totally true. “Transparent To The World” is not just dull and dark. It has a dense atmosphere, ranging from deep nihilism to slight moments of hope and escapism. But I have to admit: I’m listening to the tape edition of this album, which was self released by the band in 2017. There is a re-issue on LP by The Crawling Chaos Records at the moment. With a more colorful artwork, drawn in sober colors, which might better illustrate the variety of emotions of this record. But there is still this heart. An icon still matching the music of Blyh - although I’m not really able to tell you what makes me think so.
Maybe because it illustrates the emotions behind the music, coming deep from the heart of the musicians? Maybe because it is an unsettling image, seeing tentacles growing out of a heart? As unsettling as some dark moments in the music are? Maybe because it is a coherent icon, matching coherent music and forming a coherent release? Maybe I should rather say authentic.
Musically it is kind of a familiar approach. Atmospheric black metal. Cold, grim. But not filled with bitterness. Somewhere beneath the fast paced blasting beats and minimalist riffs, there is still some hope, some urge to escape from the world. In some passages this aspects seize the moment, become the leading theme of the song. Those are the moments where Blyh perform best. Offering awesome melodies with catchy structures. Reminding me a little bit of ColdWorld. At least in “The Strength Of A Woman Can Be Boundless”.
And frankly, even when all hope and escapism get abandoned and the atmosphere turns bleak, baneful, unsettling, when repetitive and hypnotic harmonies dominate, Blyh still performs on a high level, as the title track displays in a very eloquent manner. How two musical themes are varied, counterattack each other, develop. Sometimes more playful, dreamy, transcendental, almost with some post-black metal touch. But on the other side more hopeless, nihilistic and nightmarish. A beautiful song, full of contrasts.
In this style Blyh plays with typical elements of contemporary black metal. Catchy melodies and dense, incredible atmosphere opposed to baneful and bleak nihilism. More towards us-American and Cascadian black metal, than to Scandinavian style.
As an interesting fact, Blyh included a cover track on this debut. But it was originally not played by another metal band, yet by indie/folk band Songs: Ohia, respective Jason Molina. An interesting twist on this records, since “Tigress” totally fits into the concept of “Transparent To The World” as well as it is a nice adaption of the original song.