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Yakuza - Samsara

Discussion in 'Metal Reviews' started by circus_brimstone, Feb 27, 2006.

  1. circus_brimstone

    circus_brimstone Forest: Sold Out

    Jul 5, 2003
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    Yakuza – Samsara
    Prosthetic Records – 10030-2 – March 21st, 2006
    By Jason Jordan


    Oftentimes reviewing has its very own way of zapping energy no matter how many records one critiques on a regular basis. So, in effect, I inject caffeine directly into my stomach to, y’know, keep the juices flowing. And now, after tonight’s inoculation, I’m psyched to talk about the latest release from Chicago’s ominously-named Yakuza. Honestly, Samsara is a fine effort if one isn’t opposed to heavy genre-blending, which as a result forms a helter-skelter concoction.

    My conjecture is that some time after Century Media freed 2002’s Way of the Dead from its cage, the label promptly dropped Yakuza. Before a few days ago, I wasn’t too familiar with these guys. Samsara is as good an introduction as any I bet, though it’s quite opposed to resting under just one genre banner. On the contrary, numerous genres, subgenres, styles, and instruments converge on this 50-minute full-length: jazz, reggae, –core, Arabian leanings, Oriental musings, world beat, saxophone, piano, cello, and others. Thankfully, it evades sloppy disjointedness, but is far from seamless. Whereas “Cancer of Industry” radiates an Arabian feeling during its commencement – due in part to the saxophone – the song transforms into a harder being, projecting growls not unlike those of Cory Putman (Norma Jean, ex-Eso-Charis). The cleaner vocals (both McClelland and Lamont contribute vox), which manifest themselves in squawks from time to time, sound similar to those of Chris Cornell (Audioslave, ex-Soundgarden). While there’s a definite sludge/-core aura present on “Plecostomus,” “Monkeytail” features sax and dreamy, jazz-like instrumentation akin to Kayo Dot. The tribal/reggae likenesses pop up in “20 Bucks,” followed by Neurosis-core-esque moments in “Exterminator.” As you can tell from my descriptions, Samsara is essentially all over the board, like the one guy at a party who has to sample every item laid out for consumption. Plus, Mastodon fanatics will rejoice upon hearing Troy Sanders’s contribution to “Back to the Mountain.”

    Judging by this particular output, I believe Prosthetic did the smart thing by hoisting Yakuza out of their unsigned status. This third recording is pretty ambitious, and succeeds on multiple levels. Admittedly, however, this shtick won’t satisfy everyone, but I think it’s easy to warm up to, notwithstanding its propensity for rapid changes. This mixed genre stuff tends to search me out – for some unknown-yet-fascinating reason – and this album bests most of what I’ve received as of late. Overall, this is intriguing – not for everyone, though.


    UM’s Review Rating Scale

    UM's Interview with Yakuza
    UM's Live Review of Yakuza / Blood Tribe / Deliver Us from Evil
    Official Yakuza Website
    Official Prosthetic Records Website
  2. Rodrigo

    Rodrigo Heat in 7

    Apr 17, 2001
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    Southern California
    I loved Way of the Dead and I cant wait for this one.

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