When you sit down to listen to BROWNS JENKINS’ latest and first full-length album, grab yourself a parka jacket and prepare to dwell in the dark and frost-bitten land that this one man band will engulf you in. This is an icy cold record with the instruments slowly creeping over you like the cold hand of a long dead body; there’s no room here for any sense of warmth or robust sound, just the utter dejection of light and sense of human touch one may seek when isolated.
Sludgy, fuzzed-out guitars rule “Angel Eyes” world, barely ever getting beyond a canter let alone the oft blinding tremolo playing normally found as the rudiment of Black Metal. No, this is the soundtrack to your funeral were you to be buried on a densely snowy day where the sunlight has been banished by blackened clouds and the procession is moving as though they were stuck in slush. Over and over the dissonant chords of the album ring out, at times in sheer monotony yet they have an ethereal quality that captures you and makes you simply want to stay and listen as they drone out of your speakers. As with so many Black Metal projects these days, BROWNS JENKINS is a one man group who ironically hails from the sweltering Austin, Texas area, but no question has a serious affinity with music that conjures a desolate and unforgiving landscape. It is difficult, nigh impossible, to ascertain when one cut on this record finishes and one begins, and that is one drawback to the album. While it can be a boon to know where you’re going, eventually you may just find yourself in a loop and looking to get out.
For all intents and purposes this album can be thought as one long, droning Black Metal dirge, a slight variation here and way over there. To some this will be joyous; basking in the grim atmosphere sole band member UA has created, sinking in the claustrophobic sense of oneness. With this monolithic angle, Drone fans may enjoy “Angel Eyes” as much as if not more than Black Metal fans. For some it will be perhaps nothing more than one long dip into a circular trench you can’t wait to get out of. I’m playing the spoiler role here and finding myself in the middle, at times entranced by the beauty of the gloomy mood the music evokes and also needing to jump off the merry-go-round its repetition creates.
(Online June 4, 2008)