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Formed in 1999, Chicago based heavy hybridizers Yakuza, are in a genre all of its own, which Pitchfork describe as a “a specialized and strange alloy”. So eclectic and hard to pigeon-hole, their music has been described over the years as everything from avant-garde metal, progressive metal, alternative metal to experimental rock, jazz metal, art metal and post-metal. Incorporating psychedelic rock jams that sprawl into heavy, sludging Doom with jazz influences, while also incorporating breakneck grind riffs and grooves, makes Yakuza’s new album “Sutra” a long awaited and insanely enjoyable feast of frequencies.
From their break-out debut album “Amount to Nothing” in 2000, which was met with critical acclaim, Yakuza have been a phenomenon in the world of heavy music, hot on the tongues of those who know. Their second album “Way of the Dead” in 2002 landed Yakuza a deal with Century Media and worldwide notoriety, securing them live slots with like-minded progressive heavyweights like Candira, Opeth, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Lacuna Coil and Mastodon. Several albums of top tier eccentric metal followed with “Samsara” in 2006 which was recorded by Matt Bayles (Isis, Botch, Pearl Jam) and featured Sanford Parker, and Mastodon’s Troy Sanders, the jazzier and spaced-out “Transmutations” in 2007, and “Of Seismic Consequence” in 2010 and “Beyul” in 2012 respectively released on cult underground label Profound Lore. With a diamond back-catalogue of flawless genre breaking metal, having no stylistic constraints, Yakuza are maestros of highly creative, extreme music, ever ahead of the game.
Over 10 years after their last release, Yakuza have returned with “Sutra” losing none of their expansive and wildly artistic approach to pushing the boundaries of heavy music. “Sutra” leans in on redefining the limits of heavy and eclectic metal, with songs like Echoes From The Sky’s epic sung vocals and zig zagging slabs of juggernaut riffing, all sewn together with Voivod chords and King Crimson structures, never coming apart but embracing the delightfully chaotic. Like John Coltrane jamming with Napalm Death, Bruce Lamont (saxophone, clarinet, vocals) has discussed an appreciation for Pink Floyd, Huun Huur Tu, Peter Brötzmann, Battles, Enslaved, Brighter Death Now, George Orwell, Ethiopian music, and Blut Aus Nord, perfectly picking up on the multifaceted angles that Yakuza exhibits.