Review Summary: Excellent music. Not wild about King Yosef's vocals.
Sara Taylor’s vocals and Ryan George’s music on this album are ***ing awesome as usual. But I’m disappointed. Oh, it’s not the tragic HORROR I experienced back in 1991 when I first popped in Metallica’s Black Album, when I finally accepted that what made Puppets such a great album had died with Cliff Burton. But, still, this new Youth Code album is disappointing. King Yosef’s vocals remind me very strongly of Ivan Moody’s (Five Finger Death Punch), and it feels incompatible with Youth Code’s sound.
Of course, guttural vocals aren’t new to industrial music; Al Jourgensen changed to a guttural style with Psalm 69. But I much prefer his (processed) hardcore/thrash style on Rape and Honey and Terrible Thing to Taste. Curiously, Sara Taylor’s vocals are basically guttural; why do THEY work for me, but not Yosef’s? Because she’s female? Sounds like a personal problem on my part. I don’t know, but guttural, death-metal vocals have always sounded, since I first heard them in 1989 on Death’s Leprosy, like an act to me. The vocals on all his subsequent albums (except Symbolic), were also great disappointments, since Chuck Schuldiner’s MUSIC is about as good as metal gets. To my ears, though, a pissed off guy about to kick some ass sounds a lot more like Tom Araya (Slayer) than Chuck Shuldiner. In fact, I can’t think of any other context outside of death metal vocals that a guy would put on such a voice. It sounds more like puking than screaming in rage.
Yet my tastes are apparently in the minority. For the exception of Slayer, guttural vocals in bands like Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage seem to be more commercially successful than a traditional hardcore/thrash/screaming style. I note too that Ministry’s Psalm 69 was more commercially successful than its predecessors. Maybe that’s what Youth Code is going for with the addition of King Yosef? All the luck to him and Youth Code, but his vocals just aren’t for me.