Defying and destroying sonic conventions on their way to paths unknown
Yakuza’s sixth album, Beyul, is a hectic, hallucinogenic drag race through freeway traffic, filled with sudden lurches, rapid acceleration, dangerous spin outs, brake screeches and frustrated noisy idling. It’s a dizzying exercise in queasy chaos, consistent for about a minute at a time before peeling off in another direction. Like 2010′s Of Seismic Consequence, Beyul eschews Yakuza’s early death-metal vocals and rhythms, veering in ever-more unpredictable directions. Much of the album is rooted in prog, post-metal and psychedelic doom, bringing to mind bands like Neurosis, Mastodon and Dillinger Escape Plan. Roiling turmoil aside, there are some structured songs: “Mouth of the Lion” locks into an angular but consistent groove, and “Lotus Array” opens onto a vista of tribal beats, layered, melodic saxophones and sedated vocals before spiraling into spikier paths. As entrancing as their droning, mystical moments can be, Yakuza are at their best when they freefall, defying and destroying sonic conventions on their way to paths unknown.