Review Summary: As artistic as they may be, Yakuza don't deliver the promised masterpiece.
Based on the research I did on Yakuza, they are an “art metal” band that can be compared to sludge-men Mastodon
. Their latest offering, Of Seismic Consequence
, has been compared to Mastodon’s Crack the Skye
on the level of proggy heaviness. Thus far I am inclined to agree. However, I have also read that Of Seismic Consequence
is a crushingly heavy and beautiful masterpiece, with 9/10 and 9.5/10 critic ratings. Here I must, unfortunately, disagree slightly.
The opening track on Consequence
, “The Ant People”, is a very tribal instrumental track, based heavily on drums and eerie chanting buried beneath a deep bass drone. At this point the album shows a lot of promise, giving a Planet of the Apes vibe.
Following “The Ant People”, tracks like “Thinning the Herd” and “Good Riddance (The Knuckle Walkers)” are excellent slabs of sludgy jungle riffage. Indeed there are points where the rumbling shredding is borderline “crushing”, like an avalanche. However, these tracks also introduce the band’s crippling weakness: frontman Bruce Lamont’s clean vocals. His broken Geddy Lee-ish drawling is distractingly off-tune, and very rarely does he incorporate his skillful post-metal roar, which is by far a better vocal delivery technique. When Lamont actually SINGS, the result is spacey art-prog. When his bellows and the riffs meet, the result is excellent avant-garde sludge.
That is not to say the drunken rambling is without its place. Consequence
makes good use of cavernous atmosphere (enhanced with saxophone). During these softer, more ritualistic movements in “Be That As It May” the moans are quite effective. They also are of surprisingly good use in “Farewell To the Flesh”, where the trembling effect added to them is a smart touch.
Despite the particularly annoying thorn of Lamont’s singing, Of Seismic Consequence
is an absorbing “art metal” album with plenty of burbling riffs and hypnotic atmospheric passages. I highly enjoyed “The Ant People”, the droning “Farewell To the Flesh”, and the raging pummeler “Good Riddance (The Knuckle Walkers)”. But…I just can’t quite agree with the praises of this album. However artistic Consequence
may be, it isn’t all that groundbreaking (sounds a lot like Mastodon tripping balls…), and it still falls a bit short the masterpiece I was promised.