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Yakuza: Transmutations

Straddling the line between post-rock, prog, extreme metal, and jazz, comes the fourth album from Chicago's Yakuza, titled Transmutations. To say this CD pushes the envelope is an understatement, as Yakuza manages to keep the listener guessing on each and every track as to where the music might go next. Although there's plenty of manic death/doom/black metal styles permeating this thing ("Meat Curtains", "Congestive Art-Failure", "Steal the Fire", and the inhuman hysteria of "Praying For Asteroids" being a few examples), it's the more atmospheric pieces that really warrant your attention here. "Egocide" is one such beast, a trippy, proggy exploration into dark themes and psychedelic acid-trips, complete with some wild sax breaks that kind of drop in as if the spirit of Charlie Parker or John Coltrane decided to sit in for a spell. Another gem is the ominous "Raus", a dark and brooding corker that recalls Present or King Crimson, complete with haunting sound effects, pounding drums, and ethereal vocals. Things take a similar but even more menacing tone on "The Blinding", a slow, doomy nightmare of a track that could easily fit onto the recent Celtic Frost album. Thick, sludge ridden guitars ring out into the night while tortured growling vocals float around like escaped demons on a cold dark evening. On "Existence Into Oblivion" there's a nice balance between Ozzy-styled clean vocals and lean & mean growls, complemented by pummeling guitar riffs and manic rhythms, while the epic "Perception Management" is a marvelous slice of haunting post-rock, littered with jangly effects laden guitars, moaning clean vocals, and lots of atmosphere. The mammoth heavy riffs at the end, coupled with some screaming sax and gruesome growls, make for a momentous piece and perhaps the best overall song on the album. The last two tracks, "Black Market Liver" and "Zombies" both feature bombastic extreme metal mixed with dark jazz and prog for some truly chilling and groundbreaking sounds.

Transmutations is an album not to be missed folks. It's got a little something for everyone, and repeated listens reveals some truly unique sounds from this talented four-piece. Check it out.

Track Listing
1. Meat Curtains
2. Egocide
3. Congestive Art-Failure
4. Praying For Asteroids
5. Raus
6. Steal the Fire
7. The Blinding
8. Existence Into Oblivion
9. Perception Management
10. Black Market Liver
11. Zombies

Added: August 2nd 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Yakuza Website
Hits: 4667
Language: english

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