There are a million things that the members of Chicago metal quartet Yakuza do right on their fourth LP, Transmutations. They start it off with the hugest, most corrosive chord ever recorded. They move from controlled metal grooves to free-form grindcore locomotion and back with peerless flexibility. They rescue metallic ambience from the clutches of a thousand ponderous Isis clones, lining the path from pretty to savage with droning Middle Eastern melodies, smoky saxophone and bass clarinet licks and hand percussion (from Windy City jazzbos Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang, no less). They even end the album with leading man Bruce Lamont growling “chaos reigns forever,” which is basically the most metal sentiment imaginable.
Yeah, the members of Yakuza could work on their clean vocals, but those just get thrown into Transmutations‘ blast furnace anyway, mixed and melted down with every other atypical approach in Yakuza’s arsenal until something singular is forged. The album is leaps and bounds stronger than Yakuza’s already pretty boss previous album, Samsara.
So what will the band do next? If you’re already asking that, chances are you haven’t fully digested the awesomeness of Transmutations.