Across a decade and a half of aliases and side-projects, Dean Blunt’s been known as an enigma. With a penchant for trolling and a disdain for genre boundaries, the Londoner is hard to pin down—from the masked post-punk of his Hype Williams duo to the weirdo noise-rap of Babyfather. But the sequel to 2014’s BLACK METAL, released under his own name, is mostly just…pretty. A pared-down collection of downcast avant-pop, BLACK METAL 2 blurs acoustic strums, MIDI strings and Blunt’s deadpan half-raps, telling fascinatingly unresolved stories—a gun on the beach, a mother without a son. These are lush, delicate songs that still feel profoundly unhappy: “Daddy’s broke/What a joke/Future’s bleak,” he sing-songs on folk downer “NIL BY MOUTH”. Even at its most accessible, Blunt’s work remains a bit of a mystery.

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