As Blanck Mass, the British musician Benjamin John Power presents an utterly stunning musical portrait of a crushing trap between humanity and modernity on his new album, Animated Violence Mild. The music might present as harsh industrial on a first listen, but these songs don’t just feel like something to hold at a distance and listen to — they swallow you up, convulsing maniacally as you’re pressured into feeling build-ups inside and around you. The sheer force that at times makes itself abundantly clear on Animated Violence Mild defines this work as a stunning vat of power.
Power has explained the new Blanck Mass album as partly a reflection on and mourning over the “death” wrought by modern consumerism. The absolutely unmissable unique thing is — he doesn’t just talk about this concept; instead, he’s managed to capture this frenzy in musical form. The first full track on his new record starts out at a galloping, breakneck pace and he absolutely does not let up for most of the album, keeping a captivating amount of musical interest along the way. The walls of this tunnel you’re rocketing through are packed full of ominous but glittering structures — even in the midst of the dangerous uncertainty captured as metaphor with this work, there’s a desperate lunge for some kind of “human” surface grip. The album never loses you, no matter its wildness.
Eventually, Animated Violence Mild does get to some kind of comparative slowdown, even if overall the songs in the latter portions don’t stand as particularly “slow” against other options. The overall picture feels like Power’s own personal version of contemplation. When he does open up his creations to have some breathing room, there’s a real heaviness that shadows the whole journey even still — after all, literally a moment before any “slowness” you were flying along at a wild speed going who knows where. The interplay that Power has captured and centers on what might be called a musical portrait of “beautiful hell” feels like a true, real portrait of our present condition. The relentless drive that’s more than apparent on this record provides for a sort of spiritual accounting on our collective part.