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3.75 out of 5 skulls
August 22, 2014 | ,

Yautja Songs of Descent

I’m not afraid to admit that when I first played Yautja’s debut full-length, Songs of Descent I was left confused. Perhaps the album cover threw me off the track. Or perhaps it’s the trio’s blend of sludge, doom, grind and even a good bit of noise that’s had me rubbing the side of my skull trying to figure out why I like this album so damn much.

Featuring members from several local Nasheville bands, including Coliseum (bassist Kayhan Vaziri), Yautja combine styles of music that shouldn’t at all work together and yet the spastic, polyrhythms of drummer Tyler Coburn mesh pretty darn well with the sludgy guitars of Shibby Poole. This can be heard to its fullest extent within the disjointed sound of the album’s second song, “Denihilist.”

And as much as I like that track and its off-putting, noise-fueled presentation, I’m giddy as a schoolgirl when the band lets loose with some rabid grind as heard on “Blinders” and the scatterbrained “Concrete Lounge.” Just when you think you’ve settled into a groove, the guys go off and violently throw punk infused, Unsane influenced mayhem at you like “Tar and Blindness,” which by the way is a fucking killer song. “Teeth” is all about knocking yours out — the opening salvo of riffage and drums will have your fist in the air, jaw clenched, smiling through bloody gums.

“Faith Resigned” is a monster of a song both in terms of length (it’s the weightiest on the album) and musicianship. Yautja combine lurching, off-kilter riffs with a sludgy atmosphere and drums that seem to have a mind of their own. And yet, the whole things sound cohesive and orderly. This is why I was initially left at a loss when first subjecting my ears to Songs of Descent. Even when the guys aren’t adding their three-headed vocal attack to the maelstrom of noise, their instrumental songs &#151l “(Path of Descent)”, “(Path to Ground)” and “A Cleansing Fire” — are all amazing in their own right.

When all is said and done Songs of Descent is all over the place. Grind? Yup. Noise? Got that too. Sludge? Hell, yeah! Punk? Sure, why not…. you get the picture. What’s so baffling about this album, however, is how it all comes together. Rambling, self-aware drumming leads the way for off-kilter guitars and rumbling bass lines in a noisy, ugly amalgam of metal music that just kicks ass. How, these three dudes have managed to pull this off, I have no idea, but I thank them for it.

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