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Yugen - Iridule CD (album) cover





3.91 | 131 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars As of this writing, it's the end of the year, and for me that means, in addition to all the holiday shopping and festivities that go on, finally catching up on the music released throughout the year that I had been neglecting. Near the top of my list were the new records released by AltRock Productions, who I fell in love with earlier in the year after discovering both Simon Steensland and miRthkon, both of which I deemed 5 star albums and both of which were released by AltRock.

Yugen was my first experience from this years batch, and I must confess that this is quite an album - definitely a very strong contender, if not a shoe in, for album of the year!

Much like Symphonic prog, Prog metal, and any other sub-genre, the elements that make avant rock appealing can easily become it's greatest downfalls. Where symphonic will suffer from long, meandering keyboard solos, avant can suffer if the madness gets too far out of control. At moments, it almost sounds like Yugen is about to do just that - but just as they are about to reach the brink, they reign themselves back in and switch gears into another direction. At times, the music will seem to grow more and more chaotic, until the bottom end kicks in and suddenly it is all tied together. Really, in terms of taking many of the things I love about the avant sound as far as they can, Yugen have succeeded - in spades.

Complex rhythms, amazing contrast, frantic melodies, dissonance - all combine in some crazy melting pot that is both chaotic and gorgeous at the same time.

By the end of the The Scuttle of the Past out of the Cupboards, the second track and first "full length" piece on the album, you might expect to know exactly what is coming for the album, for all these elements have already been played. But Yugen had another surprise up their sleeves, and "Iridule" starts with the lovely singing of Elaine di Falco, over much more serene and peaceful soundscapes, proving that on top of the chaos they have mastered so completely, this band also completely understands the value of restraint. She will return several times throughout the album, her lovely voice adding a keen, simple beauty to the music, or on one surprising track, take it in a completely different direction.

Compositionally, each song is a maze of different sounds and approaches, yet they hold together wonderfully, creating a complete album full of complete songs.

Reviewers note: I am giving this album 4 stars for the time being, but it may rise even higher after further listens. It is a borderline 5 star album for me right now, but I only give 5 star ratings when absolutely certain.

TheGazzardian | 4/5 |


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