With high praise from the metal press, local and national newspapers, and highbrow publications alike, Chicago’sYAKUZA has succeeded in garnering attention of all kinds, all the while not compromising the band’s free-flowing and spontaneous musical integrity. Regardless, YAKUZA remains independent, maintaining an almost indescribable sound that picks and plucks from a wealth of influences and inspirations.
Staying deeply rooted in a genre all its own, YAKUZA’s existence lies on a metal base with progressive flair, while somehow also incorporating elements of jazz, world beat, and post-rock ambiance. Picture (if you can) a mixture of King Crimson, all periods of John Coltrane’s career, Tortoise, and Napalm Death. The end result is captivating, a sound that Rolling Stone, Revolver, Alternative Press, the Chicago Sun Times, the Chicago Tribune, All That Jazzand countless others all agree is refreshingly original, technically proficient, all the while still staying very metal.
Continuing the band’s genre-defying sound with Transmutations, the follow-up to 2006’s critically acclaimed record, Samsara, the album sees YAKUZA again pushing the aural boundaries further albeit in a different way, incorporating more psychedelic elements alongside stretching, doomy movements and the band’s trademark jazz-influences, while also incorporating breakneck grind riffs and grooves at the same time.
“Exploration, experimentation, riding the line between the familiar and the foreign; the essential elements forYAKUZA have already been established,” frontman Bruce Lamont says. “We are not interested in creating music that’s not easily definable. Our roots are firmly planted in metal – yes, but like life, the sounds here are not cut and dry. At times this record can be uplifting, cruel, celebratory and just downright fuckin’ mean.”
Utilizing producer and established multi-instrumentalist Sanford Parker (Rwake, Pelican, Minsk) for the recording ofTransmutations, YAKUZA couldn’t be happier with the album’s end sound. “Sanford was great to work with,” Lamont says. “We really feel he has refined his craft over the past half a dozen recordings he’s done. He’s known the band for a long time and helped with our last release, so he is already aware of our studio tendencies. With him the process felt almost effortless.”
With an album that continues the YAKUZA sound while – somehow – also expanding upon the band’s already established enigmatic concepts and forward-thinking approach to metal, Transmutations continues to push the envelope, carving a niche in the metal genre, while still continuing the band’s originality that has garnered so much attention in the underground – metal, mainstream or otherwise.
Norway’s 1349 will bring its sonic plague back to North America in October for a co-headline tour with Triptykon, entitled, “Weltenbrand World Tour.” Chicago’s Yakuza will also appear on the bill. This will be their second trek on this side of the Atlantic in support of their album, “Demonoir,” which was released in April on [...]
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