Corbin Smidzik, previously known as Spooky Black has made a return after a lengthy two-year break. The Minnesota singer has worked with The Weeknd’s collaborator Doc McKinney, and producers Shlomo and D33J. Showing a profound maturity and an evolved gothic R&B production style, the singer confronts dark issues surrounding a toxic relationship.
The artist creates a link between metal and RnB, with the howling screams paralleling with the rich melodic rhythms and smooth vocals.
The bleak nature of the album is apparent from the start. With its trip hop beats and dragged vocals. Opening track ‘ICE BOY’ creates a nostalgic melancholy flow. Corbin expresses the agony and torment behind his voice through weary vocals and wailing screams. Deeper desperation is emphasised in the cutting rasp and break in his vocal chords, alongside painful wails on ‘Giving up’ and ‘Revenge Songs’ over the betrayal of his female lover. Yet, despite the off-key notes and painful cries in the album, there is still a raw beauty to it all.
‘Mourn’ consists of minimalism, from the chilled spacey beats and the simplistic lyrics echoed by Corbin. The track ‘The Fold up’ interrupts the dark aesthetics of the album with its more upbeat energy. But Corbin returns to the bleak theme ending the record with the gloomy track ‘Dragged’.
The record shows us Corbin’s maturity and potential with a provoking piece.It leaves the listener with emptiness and emotional affliction, whilst preserving a somewhat angelic quality to the painful piece.
Words by, Melissa Kasule