Review Summary: A working class demon’s horror film score written in waters.
Musicians moving in and out of a rock band’s line-up can, in principle, cause a considerable turmoil within its ranks. Its magnitude fluctuates with respect to the discipline of practice of the parting member (or members). If it’s about the lead singer and/or the main guitarist/composer leaving, the impact can turn out to be considerable, as the band’s sound print has a high chance in being completely altered in releases to come. In contrast, seldom did a change in drummer or bass player, proved to destabilize a band’s artistic merit, either temporally or permanently. And yet, a case that files under the latter description appeared when bassist Plenum and the Norwegian avant-garde metal act Virus parted ways after the release of The Black Flux
album. Plenum’s bass lines was a key ingredient to the intimate sound of Virus from day one and Carl Michael Eide, the band’s mastermind, stated when interviewed that, if he didn’t find a bassist of equal quality, the band would dissolve irrevocably. Fortunately the crisis was avoided literally “in the last minute”, as Virus replaced Plenum with a young and talented Norwegian multi-instrumentalist, running by the alias Bjeima. Prior to his inclusion in Virus, Bjeima had been active in numerous musical projects, too obscure even in the present times, where the internet is cynically shedding light in every aspect of human life. One of his projects that emerged from the underground, operates by the name Yurei (“ghost” in Japanese) and Working Class Demon
is the band’s debut album.
In Working Class Demon
, Yurei prolifically reinterpret the days and works of bands like Ved Buens Ende, Virus or Fleurety, some of the most intimate avant-garde metal bands known to presence. Every element that the aforementioned outfits brought forth is present, i.e., the volatile song writing ethics, the doom-to-mid-tempo textured but highly technical/off-beat drumming, the bass lines which seem to weave their way within the countless lines of a tortured human hand, the disharmonic vapor-propagating guitars and the “Scott Walker copyright 1967-eternity” vocal crooning. The remarkable points of Yurei’s debut do not rely alone in that Bjeima aptly plays all the aforementioned instruments, as the advents of his effort go beyond his top notch instrument playing abilities. Bjeima succeeds to spot and stress the horror element which the music of Ved Buens Ende (more) and Virus (less) implied, through the use of wood/metal phones and keyboard phrases (all played by Bjeima himself), with the latter obeying the “shock doctrine” which film scores for classic horror films firstly introduced. As if this wasn’t enough, Bjeima incepts the s-u-p-e-r-b interplay of the non-rock and rock instruments, in order to shift the mood between horror music, avant-garde extreme metal and lounge/chill out music (listen to the “Velvet Demon”). Moreover, he manages to infuse some clean n’ lean jazz grooves here and there, making the mix even more heretic. The fitting sound production perfectly complements the musical content, although the drums (and especially the kick drums) could use the extra depth.
In closing, the debut Yurei album is an accomplishment that succeeds in the same way as any other human piece work, relevant or irrelevant to music per se. First it convincingly manages to recapture the bizarre musical universe of the pioneering bands of avant-garde extreme metal, and while doing so, it presents some new ideas on its own, which are well welded with the already existing musical ground. Furthermore, Yurei prove to be a worthy band addition to a genre, in which the summing total of really good outfits is relatively small.