Yakuza - Of Seismic Consequence
Profound Lore Records
9 songs (51:55)
Release year: 2010
Profound Lore Records
Reviewed by Steve
Album of the month

The melange of sonic elements present on Of Seismic Consequence is frequently difficult to untangle. Of course, it isn’t meant to be untangled, it’s meant to wash over. And wash over it does; a triumph of musical creation.

The transition from Native American style chanting to strained and violent yelling in album opener The Ant People presages the game afoot: mix disparate musical ingredients into a new and edifying dish and do it without “challenging” the listener. That’s right, even though it is entirely fair and accurate to affix the labels avant-garde, experimental, or post to this record, you don’t have to work to enjoy it. The Ant People also foretells the range of what is set forth on Of Seismic Consequence.

Interestingly, you wouldn’t necessarily get what was going on with this record if you heard only, say, Thinning the Herd, a track that is laden with riffs and moves with a rhythmic flow that will remind some of Mastodon. Of Seismic Consequence is best listened to as an album, straight through from start to finish.

Perhaps the most distinctive element of the Yakuza sound is the baritone saxophone. It makes its first appearance on track 3, Stones and Bones. A sliding guitar chord welcomes the horn into the fray as an aggressive, caustic song which had a robotic sounding riff as its backbone becomes meditative and melancholy. Once the transition in mood is complete, the sax bows out; its goal achieved. On the next track, Be That as it May, though, the sax is blowing right off the bat. The track has a very noir feel to it but features an excellent guitar solo and a brief surferish riff, making it sound like a wonderful candidate for a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack.

Testing the Waters travels back up the river of tempo, giving us the album’s best riff and ending with an eerie tornado siren. Or is it an air raid siren? Two tracks later, the record is at its heaviest in a short but driving song, The Great War. Deluge, the final track, begets a hallucinogenic desert vibe, evoking the journeys of Carlos Castaneda in his seminal psychonautical book The Teachings of Don Juan. It ends the explorations of the album with a feeling of accomplishment, while acknowledging that the voyage has truly only just begun.

Of Seismic Consequence is a clock whose hands spin over a color wheel of emotions. It is an album that makes your mood rather than fitting it. And so it is it very special. If there can be any objective evaluation of art, and I believe there can, this record is far better than most.

Killing Songs :
Steve quoted 93 / 100
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