Yyrkoon - Unhealthy Opera
Osmose Productions
Death Metal
13 songs (48'36")
Release year: 2006
Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

I will be happy to report to you that my instincts about Yyrkoon were right. This death metal band from France is not a one-trick pony, and their excellent Occult Medicine is followed up with no less excellent Unhealthy Opera. Not familiar with Yyrkoon? Neither was I a few years ago, so scroll to the bottom of the page and read my earlier review of Occult Medicine for historic purposes. It is never too late to discover quality bands.

Unhealthy Opera continues in a vein not too dissimilar from Occult Medicine. Please, do not misconstrue my words thinking that Yyrkoon deliver formulaic metal. They are anything but. Instead, while it is easy to stagnate in the shady world of death metal, Yyrkoon manage to find the way. Not necessarily playing exclusively at mach-3-blazing-fast speed, the Frenchmen know when to thrash and when to lay a melody via a riff or a solo.

There is a fair share of machine gun rhythms on Unhealthy Opera, the title track starts with a commanding precision. From the Depths continues with its sinister gallop, other tracks, like The Book, presenting the powers of the controlled blasting. My first impression of Unhealthy Opera was that Yyrkoon decided to step up the brutality factor, but not do it only via faster riffs. That would be too simple and very un-Yyrkoon like. There is no better feeling when shredding and thunderous drums collapse at the edge of a dark breakdown, melody layers filling the song (Abnormal Intrusion, The Book). If there is a way to be non-Gothenburg and melodic, in a twisted foreboding way, Yyrkoon knows the method. The melody can come as a part of a song layering (Injecting Dementia), always well placed solo by Geoffrey Gauiter (title track) or in a form of a perfectly executed dark acoustic instrumental (Temple of Infinity).

Just like I was saying in my review of Occult Medicine, the only other death metal band I know who lay their sick darkness this way is Immolation. Yyrkoon, though, seems to be a bit more modern and a bit more polished, but no less technical. Yes, their riff approach may seem more bacchanalia at first. The Frenchmen know the art of truly headbanging steady rhythm, with only occasional neck snapping twist (Horror from the Sea). They are one of the best, however, knowing when to switch from a pounding riff to a dark breakdown. Having taking a listen to a song or two from Morbid Angel, Yyrkoon would look at home sharing the stage with Behemoth and Nile.

Individual member performances are top notch. Geoffrey’s guitar skills have been already commended. The band gives more room for the bass player Victo, his audible lines in plain sight in Screaming Shores and Horror from the Sea. Looks like the band’s old drummer Laurent is back providing the quality foundation. Stef’s vocals are still most limited to the low growl, only occasionally going for a clean line (Signs), or trying for a higher pitch excursion (title track). He can stick with his beached whale rumble and be OK. Jacob Hansen is to be immensely credited for the thickness and density in Yyrkoon’s production on Unhealthy Opera. The band’s fascination with the occult continues through the lyrics rooted in the Lovecraftian’s Cthulhu myths and horrors.

If you felt that death metal has not been delivering as of late, I wholeheartedly recommend Yyrkoon. And if possible, get a limited edition version, as you will be rewarded with the additional track Signs, an excellent racing song hiding snippets of Mediterranean melody in it.

Killing Songs :
Great album from start to finish, so it is hard to pick, but if I had to: From the Depths, The Book, Horror from the Sea, Injecting Dementia, Signs
Alex quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by Yyrkoon that we have reviewed:
Yyrkoon - Occult Medicine reviewed by Alex and quoted 91 / 100
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