At this point, you know what to expect from a Blanck Mass record. For years now, Benjamin John Power has been producing tunes for the clubs in hell, coalescing dance and doom.
From out of the gate, Animated Violence Mild follows suit. A somewhat perfunctory skit precedes this album's true intro, the monstrous 'Death Drop'. An anime theme with necro production, this track feels like getting your ears hoovered. It's as relentless and grimy a re-introduction as you could hope for — and even finds time for a playful synth ditty towards its tail end.
But don't think that means you can catch your breath. A seamless transition into 'House vs. House' retains the album's hypercaffeinated pace while allowing some softer, poppier elements to seep in. It's a triumphant track that bops like a carnival. The beat barely changes up for seven minutes, but it's so infectious you won't mind.
In its cheap-thrill energy, Animated Violence Mild seems at least semi-parodic. Each track feels like an assimilation or piss-take of an existing genre. 'Love is a Parasite' has a glam rock feeling to its instrumentals, but retains previous tracks' ice-cold production and introduces some extreme vocals. The result is as compelling as it is absurd; half Norwegian black metal, half Toto.
And on 'No Dice', the glitzy Watch the Throne Kanye and emotionally volatile Yeezus Kanye get into a gory car accident. But it's so out-there, you'll be rubbernecking from start to finish.
The slight frustration with this album is that it's too much of a good thing. Animated Violence Mild is saved by a surprising moment of quiet in the second half of 'Creature/West Fuqua'. Without this, it would almost completely lack variation. But this quiet moment is made even more beautiful by its brevity; restrained in its restraint.
Like a kid running down a hill, arms flailing, feet lifting off from beneath them, Animated Violence Mild is an album on the brink of eating concrete. But it's all the more exhilarating for it.
Animated Violence Mild is released on the 16th August, and is available for streaming and pre-order here.
Words by Andrew O’Keefe