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YAKUZA - Samsara


We live in an era where genre mixing is nothing new among heavy bands. However, not everyone pulls it off with success. Chicago’s YAKUZA are perhaps one of the most interesting and stimulating bands that meld extreme metal, hardcore, jazz, and psychedelia. If you thought their last album, Way of the Dead, was good, you’ll be happy to know that Samsara is better. Samsara is more experimental and extreme at the same time. First of all, there are a lot more jazz and psychedelia influences in the songs, which result in a lot of passages of tripped out soundscapes. It’s apparent that YAKUZA are traveling to very introspective and spiritual realms. When they wanna get heavy, they can get as heavy as any death/grindcore band out there and when they wanna get trippy, they can take you as far out as THE DOORS or TOOL. The band also avoid exclusively relying on heavy/light juxtapositions to express themselves. Vocalist Bruce Lamont not only morphs his voice for whatever mood the song calls for but also blesses us with a lot more saxophone playing than on Way of the Dead. There are no real hit songs here as Samsara cannot be understood by one song alone as the album is an experience. The great thing about YAKUZA is that they’re only getting better with each release. If you’re looking to graduate from the school of run-of-the-mill heavy music, then it’s time to try Samsara on for size. (Prosthetic Records)