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YAKUZA

Experimental/Post Metal • United States


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Yakuza biography
Chicago-based YAKUZA came together in 1999 and in 2001 released their debut album "Amount to Nothing".The band seemed on their way to big things when they were signed to Century Media Records and released their sophomore effort "Way of the Dead" in 2002.But despite the attention and high praise the album received,YAKUZA pareted way with the label and completely dropped off the radar.
The years since have seen YAKUZA shuffle their line up,replacing bassist Jackson with John E. Bohmer,and self-finance the recording of their third full-length album.The band also secured the albums release with new label home Prosthetic Records.In 2006 YAKUZA released their third album "Samsara".
YAKUZA stays deeply rooted in a genre all its own: a metal base with progressive flair, while incorporating elements of jazz, world beat, and post-rock ambience.Highly recommended to fans of extreme yet unique and inventive progressive metal.



Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
This band has been approved by the Progressive Metal Team of Special Collaborators



Discography:
Amount to Nothing, studio album (2001)
Way of the Dead, studio album (2002)
Samsara, studio album (2006)
...

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BeyulBeyul
Profound Lore 2012
Audio CD$7.73
$6.83 (used)
Of Seismic ConsequenceOf Seismic Consequence
Profound Lore 2010
Audio CD$8.96
$4.97 (used)
Way of the DeadWay of the Dead
Century Media 2002
Audio CD$12.60
$0.25 (used)
TransmutationsTransmutations
Prosthetic Records 2007
Audio CD$7.81
$4.97 (used)
SamsaraSamsara
Prosthetic 2006
Audio CD$50.30
$0.94 (used)
BustedBusted
Journees
Vinyl$5.99 (used)
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YAKUZA shows & tickets


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YAKUZA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

YAKUZA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.33 | 3 ratings
Amount to Nothing
2001
3.14 | 12 ratings
Way Of The Dead
2002
3.91 | 13 ratings
Samsara
2006
3.33 | 14 ratings
Transmutations
2007
3.94 | 14 ratings
Of Seismic Consequence
2010
3.67 | 6 ratings
Beyul
2012

YAKUZA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

YAKUZA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

YAKUZA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

YAKUZA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

YAKUZA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Way Of The Dead by YAKUZA album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.14 | 12 ratings

BUY
Way Of The Dead
Yakuza Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Way of the Dead" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US experimental metal act Yakuza. After gaining attention with their debut full-length studio album, "Amount to Nothing (2001)" with was released on the small Del Diablo label, the band caught the attention of Century Media Records, who signed the band and released "Way of the Dead" in 2002.

The band play a really eclectic and at times experimental type of metal. The music is somewhat rooted in hardcore and there are some raw sludgy elements in the music too, but especially the addition of saxophone/clarinet to the bandīs more traditional rock instrumentation of bass, guitars, drums and vocals, provide the sound with an avant garde (at times free jazz type) element. There are also keyboards and percussion on the album.

The vocals by Bruce Lamont (who also handles saxophone/clarinet) are predominantly shouting and raw, but he is one of those rare breed raw type vocalists who manage to put melodies into his harsh and distorted singing style. A feature that provides the vocal part of the music with a nice dynamic. The music is generally aggressive with edgy hardcore/sludge metal riffing, heavy yet cleverly played rhythms and the occasional mellower part, which are no less intriguing.

"Way of the Dead" is a pretty long album with itīs 70:42 minutes long playing time. The first seven tracks on the album are pretty much as Iīve described the music above, but the 8th and closing track "01000011110011" is very different from the rest of the tracks. Itīs a 43:24 minutes long jamming type track, with no heavy distored riffing, no vocals and a focus on atmospheric saxophone/clarinet playing. A mellow, laid back and ambient track. I enjoy the track for about 10 minutes and then my attention wanders. If you ask me thereīs no reason for this track to drag on for so long, when so little happens, but I guess people more into long drawn ambient and atmospheric music will appreciate this more than I do. I much prefer the more "regular" tracks on the album, which are all full of great energy, adventurous songwriting ideas, and high level musicianship. Add to that a powerful sound production and "Way of the Dead" is not only a quality album release by Yakuza, itīs a highly recommended listen. If "01000011110011" had been shorter or had progressed in a more interesting direction I would have rated "Way of the Dead" with a full 4 star (80%) rating, but because of that track a half star comes off and therefore a 3.5 star (70%) rating is warranted.

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 Samsara by YAKUZA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.91 | 13 ratings

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Samsara
Yakuza Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars With their second album, YAKUZA created what I believe to be a masterpiece of modern metal, or as most would say 'post-metal', but I believe that tag is just a fragment of the truth as this band has so much more to offer then the stereotypical quiet-loud post-metal noodlings and build-ups.

YAKUZA's first album was a strange and schizoid album, hesitating between brutal NEUROSIS-styled sludge and laid-back improvised psychedelic jazz. "Samsara" combines those two poles of the band's sound in every composition, making this a much more fluent album and more successful in its eclectic approach. The most remarkable feature of this band are Bruce Lamont's saxophone and clarinet, which are played in a ethereal and moody way, much like Miles Davis blows the horn, and they are a driving factor in their quality as well as originality. Vocalist Matt McClelland mostly sticks to his rough shouts. Bruce Lamont adds some spare clean vocals. His Ozzy-ian whine is effective here as it comes in short dosages. It could have gotten boring when applied too much. The songs are amongst the best of their career and the production is superb, very natural, rough around the edges but still clear and well-balanced.

"Samsara" is my favorite Yakuza album, newcomers to the band might also check the more melodic and catchy "Of Seismic Consequence". A much recommended and unique psych-jazz sludge experience.

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 Of Seismic Consequence by YAKUZA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.94 | 14 ratings

BUY
Of Seismic Consequence
Yakuza Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars With the rise of sludge, the term Metal has become such a broad umbrella in the last decade that I really wonder if a fan of Gamma Ray would still consider Yakuza to be metal at all. It is certainly aggressive in places, brutal even, but it is often also slow, gentle, jazzy, psychedelic and introvert. And those last 5 characteristics are exactly what lured me into this band's sound.

'Of Seismic Consequence' appeared in quite a number of metal top 10s of 2010. Even right at the top sometimes. I've gone back all the way to 'Way of the Dead' in their discography and I can confirm that this is indeed their masterpiece so far. There is no album where they've shaken all the ingredients of their style to such good effect, reaching a perfect balance between fast and slow, between aggressive and subdued, between screaming and melody, and between energetic and lethargic. The songwriting is outstanding, not deviating much from previous albums but with hooks aplenty this time. I especially love the outstretched psychedelic jazz parts, and they aren't overtly long or too indulgent to frighten off people that usually don't listen to jazzy stuff.

There's one gripe with this album though and that is the mastering. Everything is a blur of mid-level equalizing, leaving the lower end without any oomph and the higher end flat and dry. Even some serious EQ-ing doesn't help much. Especially the fast and heavy tracks lose lots of their dynamics because of it. Luckily 3/4 of the album is rather calm and brings in the needed dynamics despite of the deafeningly flat sound.

This is nothing less of a post-sludge masterpiece with astonishingly original music and excellent songwriting. The lifeless production could have been better though. 4+ stars easily.

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 Transmutations by YAKUZA album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.33 | 14 ratings

BUY
Transmutations
Yakuza Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars 'Transmutations' is Yakuza's 4th studio album and one that further explores their mix of hardcore metal with jazz and psychedelic influences. The only thing that seems to be missing now is memorable songwriting, and while I can enjoy the intensity of the performance and the uniqueness of their sound, a lot of the material here doesn't seem to cut it for me.

It starts pretty weak with 'Meat Curtains' where Matt McClelland mimics the whine of Ozzy in his clean vocals, but he misses the sickening evilness and Ozzy's knack for catchiness. And it's again the vocals that remain the main issue on 'Egocide', which suffers from vocal melodies that are too monotone. The music is great however. On 'Congestive Art-Failure' a vocoder is used to help out but it doesn't help. The track is mainly brutal, just like 'Praying For Asteroids'. None of both does much for me.

With 'Raus' the album finally starts showing the qualities of this band. The clean vocals work better here, evoking a certain Joy Division 'atmosphere'. Most of the track remains in quiet post-rock areas, with the saxophone providing a delicate jazzy touch. The track flows into the heavy outburst of 'Steal The Fire', showing that different 'ugly' face of the band again, and this time it works due to the strong music and emotional tension that preceded.

The album continues with the dissonant and chaotic 'The Blinding', which rivals The Swans in disconcerting and nauseating doom. It's wilder, more experimental and psychotic then the other tracks but quite astounding. I don't think I could handle an entire album of this but here it works. 'Existence Into Oblivian' is more typical, with melodic vocals dueling against brutal growls and busy tribal drumming. The psychedelic break near the end is magnificent.

'Perception Management' integrates the different aspects of Yakuza's sound, post-rock, jazz, psychedelica, sludge-metal, it all comes together and as unlikely as the combination may sound, Yakuza can make this sound natural and organic. It's without their real strength. Unfortunately, the album ends as it started, with 2 songs featuring less alluring melodies and - to my ears - rather whiny vocals.

All ingredients that make Yakuza great are in place but the songwriting is very uneven for me. The main body of the album is great, but I don't care much for the opening and closing tracks. The next one would be the real deal. This is one that only fans should seek out.

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 Way Of The Dead by YAKUZA album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.14 | 12 ratings

BUY
Way Of The Dead
Yakuza Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars Yakuza's second album 'Way of the Dead' is a disturbing journey through the schizoid minds of its creators, offering music that shifts between laid-back psychedelic jazz jams and brutal sludge/hardcore (think Mastodon before they started adding iffy things like clean vocals and melodies).

The band doesn't bend the two components of their sound into one fluent style, but instead they simply switch styles inbetween separate songs: the first half of the album is dominated by heavy rough hardcore, and the closing 43 minutes long '01000011110011' is a stretched out post-rock jam recalling Miles Davis' psych-jazz jams of the early 70's, with Bruce Lamon's sax and clarinet taking up the trumpet role. Nothing heavy or metal about this track and it must have greatly disturbed expecting hardcore fans. For me it's the best bit of the album.

The band was put on hold after this album, but they returned 4 years later with an impressive series of albums that would further explore and perfect the two polar opposites of their sound, ultimately ending in the masterpiece 'Of Seismic Consequence' where all the elements of their sound would fall into place to create something entirely new and unique. But that's a story for later. 3.5 stars so far.

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