Review Summary: (Translation not required)
Solace in isolation is never guaranteed. Remoteness, especially when forced upon an individual, gradually excavates sinew out of a trembling foundation. There remains an innate human desire to socialize with others, or to at least be somewhat engaged with a confidant. Decomposed, subdued, and caged, a weary soul may render itself to dust in personal throes; the most resilient can endure trauma for only so long before its weight balloons to unfathomable heights. In this regard, Order of Violence
is an exercise in discomfort—the mounting depths of despair that arise from seclusion, trapped in closing boundaries that strangle whatever light attempts to reach inside. For 36 minutes, German collective Yon scream at a wall of static as it enforces its will, closing off escape courses as a world once ripe with possibilities is limited in the narrowing scope of depression. Relationships collapse, opportunities enter a drought, and the greatest enemy to contend with is entrenched in the mind itself. The winding chronicles of the quintet’s proper full length debut barrel headfirst into defeatist rhetoric punctuated by confrontations with the concept of suicide. Jagged guitars, their discordant tones weaponized versus the listener, dominate the lion’s share of the tracks, while the ominous percussion lurks in the background. At times frantic and at others restrained, the drumming embodies a ceaseless funeral march, each beat echoing as another step in a wrong direction. Tucked behind a hazy production, Yon encapsulate the spirit of melancholic emo music expertly: performing from a distant abyss, removed from society while simultaneously decaying underneath its troubles and those of the individual themselves. All become internalized in a ball of vehemence that purveys violence as much as it does a touching atmosphere.
Where Yon excel amongst competitors is in their knack for more creative songwriting than the norm. It’s a common phenomenon for young screamo bands to adhere too closely to the lessons of Orchid, pledging to a no-brakes style without comprehending what allows such an approach to succeed. Brisk aggression requires more than pure speed to achieve higher quality; launching forward into each foray and not considering how
to do so leads to a product that never permits individual tracks to distinguish themselves, with the result being a palpable impact of emotion, albeit one that feels like a repeat of classics. By inserting elements of post-rock, Yon operate with compelling crescendos in mind, allowing post-hardcore motifs to flourish alongside impactful climaxes. These tools, implemented correctly, separate songs from one another, making the overall LP much more enthralling for a listener—a level of unpredictability is introduced, and the spectrum of performances can portray the various extremes of emotional vulnerability. Consider the dichotomy struck by the eerie opener “Swxw” and the subsequent “Jungle,” with the former establishing a grim aesthetic that emerges from glitching electronics. In a flurry of percussion, the song begins, strained harsh vocals rising above a thunderous bass and crunching guitars. In only two minutes, the intensity increases steadily, culminating in anguishing screams that rage against the misty production that conceals them. Acting in opposition is the patient buildup of the latter formation, the drumming and bass slowly joining proceedings before a melodic tremolo bursts onto the scene. Rather than attack, “Jungle” eases on the tension, deconstructing the tune so it can accrue momentum once more, the bellowing rhythm section complimenting the budding guitar harmony. The band ultimately merges into a singular force: a spear of sonic precision culminating in dual manic vocal showcase and crushing heaviness. Both numbers are enjoyable, but how they accomplish their payoff varies, making for a much more satisfying runtime.
In many ways, Yon is a melting pot of what makes their chosen genre click. All of the key routes through which the emotion
of emo can be displayed—evocative melodies, unbridled instrumental fury, slow-burner entries that settle before exploding—are amalgamated into a strong initial effort by the German gents, who remain open to multiple avenues of expression. That patented hostility leaps out at unsuspecting audiophiles in the fleeting “Avalanche,” all pretense dropped in favor of a total assault that highlights the power of the two vocal contributors, their desolate chords torn to shreds as razor-edged guitars rattle about the bleak environment. Inside the twisting post-hardcore riffs of “Chapter Chorister,” the strings adopt a sort of twang to them that accentuates the more core-centric parts, dissonance cooperating with an omnipresent bass to erect a fearsome menace. Balancing this is the elegant restraint practiced in prior outing “Sound of Shells.” Sounding as a Suis la Lune homage, the creation announces its arrival in gentle strumming, the vocal addition left at its most bare as it shouts out in vain, the calls sinking into the serene backdrop. At the behest of the drumming, the pace jumps to a midtempo gait, the overarching melodies coloring the setting. Rather then delving into vicious tendencies, “Sound of Shells” expires in a graceful meeting of harmonies, the tormented screams clashing with the delicate timbres that the group employs. Combining these variables into one beast reveals concluding track “Confronted by the Deity” and its comparatively imposing 8-minute lifespan. A steady drum beat accompanies a rising melody, after which the two guitarists align perfectly to strike a poignant line that buttresses the harsh vocals. Bounding from black metal-esque antagonism to the same glitching electronics that began the album, the tune immerses itself in the atmosphere of hopelessness that characterizes Order of Violence
. Be it for captivating swells in sound or biting riffs, the ferocity of Yon’s emotion is consistently experienced.
Despite the musicianship on display, it’s possible that the intrepid set behind this record are somewhat pinned down by circumstance. In one dilemma, they present themselves almost entirely in their mother tongue, only sparsely including English utterances. In another, they have been absent for five years, a span that was utilized to craft the record that now calls 2021 its home. With life increasingly pushed into a realm that values instant gratification, rewards are few for those that cannot engineer a release cycle every two or three years. Compounding this reality with a language barrier—the market leans to familiarity over difference—and a general obscurity makes for a disc seemingly doomed to be misunderstood. Whether or not Order of Violence
can be grasped in its cleanest form by appreciating its words, there’s no doubt that what Yon have amassed for their debut is a stunning example of what emo is still capable of in this new decade. It requires no subtext to analyze why the understated beauty of “Sound of Shells” can attach itself to an individual. Should a listener be so inclined, a brief visit to Google Translate outlines a detachment from a significant other as their communication disintegrates. Regardless of the reasoning, the relationship is drowning, and one’s dependable partner suddenly grows cold, silent, evaporating into a memory. However, German or English, known quantity or underground, the message that rings out necessitates no profound dissection. It can be heard in the pained shouts that struggle out of one’s throat. It can be heard in remorseful, nostalgia-infused melodies. Yon reside in the center of this ambiance of longing, relying upon their summative talents to speak universally, breaching through that static that closes in every second. Through this, Order of Violence
is absolutely human, and by doing so, it is gorgeously discomforting.