YAKUZA – Transmutations

Never a band shy of experimentation and progression, Chicago’s YAKUZA continues on their unique path with their third album, Transmutations. At this point in their career, they’ve grown beyond simple taglines or descriptions of their sound. They are a full grown being that is as eclectic and atypical as they come. Transmutations is their most atmospheric and mood-driven work to date. Whether it is meditative, psychedelic or doom-like, YAKUZA make sure to set the tone. The songs are a bit longer and are spread out enough for the material to really breathe. The death metal/grindcore aspect of their sound is still there but the transition between heavier and lighter tones is as smooth as ever. “Congestive Art-Failure” starts off with a prog rock vibe and suddenly and subtly becomes a heavy song before you realize the change. It should be noted that there are some strictly heavy songs in “Praying for Asteroids” and “Steal the Fire.” YAKUZA also display growth in the way that they are able to create intensity without relying strictly on heavy and percussive song sections to do so. “The Blinding” sounds like a temple crumbling down in flames in slow motion. The more meditative and atmospheric song sections can be equally as intense and perhaps more stimulating. Vocalist/saxophonist Bruce Lamont continues to grow individually as a multi-faceted vocalist whose clean vocals are becoming stronger and more diverse. He also injects more of his sax playing at the right moments. YAKUZA have challenged themselves artistically and have extended a challenge to people to join them on their eclectic musical journey. If you’re ready for the outer limits, Transmutations will be happy to take you there. (Prosthetic Records)

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