Review Summary: One of the best progressive death metal albums I've heard in a very long time. Plus it's got some farmer dude on the cover so pos
Ah yes, The Yukon Territory. Located in the northwesternmost corner of Canada, The Yukon Territory (often shortened to just "Yukon") is a place often associated with...uh, has any non-Yukoner ever given a *** about this place? If the Yukon were a country, it'd be the 51st largest country on the planet out of 253, yet the land only boasts a population of about 34,000. More people live in my neighborhood in northern Houston than the entire Yukon. What do we know about Yukon, really? Well, it's cold, probably full of white people, um, eskimos too...fish and igloos?
What about some progdeath?
Hailing from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, is Bushwhacker, a curiously named band from a curious place. According to Metal Archives, Bushwhacker is the only metal band from the place, and probably one of the few bands of any genre from the place at all. Still, Yukon doesn't really scream progdeath metal in the same veign as Opeth or Death; it seems more like an indie folk type of place to me. Regardless, I'm very happy that such a land of isolation and mystery released such a brilliant album from a brilliant genre. This rules.
It ***ing rules.
I personally think the last great progdeath was Death's TSOP in 1999. Most progressive death metal since 1999 has consisted of djent and if not djent, they've at least incorporated a pretty massive percentage of their sound from metalcore. Bushwhacker is one of the first bands in a long time to sport the progressive death metal title without a single hint of metalcore influence, which may be a downer for a lot of people, but it could also be the sole reason that someone like me would check it out. Often, the album sounds more like Tool with death metal vocals, and other times it sounds like a missing track off of Blackwater Park or even Individual Thought Patterns. This is the first "pure" progdeath album in a very large time, and it's a shame it's as unknown as it is. Damn shame, because this is amazing.
The quality isn't great but I wouldn't expect an album that was recorded in a Whitehorse garage to sound that great. Regardless, the quality is still very intellegable and understandable; each note on the guitar, drums, and fretless bass (extra points for fretless bass!) is audible for even the faintest of ears. The heavy guitar tone is probably the worst aspect about the album, sounding more like a heavily scooped fuzz pedal with a YouTube Poop-esque G-major, but when the riffs are this good, who gives a ***? Some of the catchiest and crunchiest riffs that have passed my ears in a long time came off of this green album. The clean guitar tone is lovely though.
While the drum playing is suitable for the job required but doesn't do much more (I'd still gladly hire him), lead guitarist Geoff Woods steals the show. His ability to be soulful and shredful at the same time is not something that you hear too often anymore, and you'd think a small town like Whitehorse wouldn't be sporting such musical talent. Think again, because Woods can shred like Yngwie Malmsteen and then instantly go into a Paul Masvidal jazzy and soulful solo. He makes me wonder why I can't find a single person with half as good soloing technique and I live in the third biggest city in America. Sure, Houston isn't nessicarily the expo for metal shredders, but neither is Whitehorse, Yukon. The rest of the band works fine too, fretless bassist Keenan Dennehy has some juicy bass moments in which he scales away from the main riff and becomes a third guitarist, and while the vocals take some time, I'm sure a lot of people could ease into it quicker than I did.
If there is one song you must jam from Bushwhacker's self titled, it's easily "The Trip". I'll say it now, this is in my top 25 favorite metal songs of all time. There's something about it; the clean intro, the catchy main riff, the catchier chorus, the orgasmic solo, it's a track that is pieced and placed together in such a unusually perfect manner. It's the ballad of the album, yet it still manages to riff harder and be more emotional than the aggressive song off of most modern metal albums. It's an outstanding track.
So, now when you're annoying nephew asks "what is in the Yukon?" You can say "a damn good metal band". Unfortunately, the band has since relocated to Vancouver, but *** it, at least they are getting work in the big city.