Of Seismic Consequence

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The fifth studio album by Chicago art metal band Yakuza is their debut for the Canadian label Profound Lore, home to many other acts with a more expansive vision of heavy music than that of their peers on, say, Roadrunner. Minsk bassist Sanford Parker produced Of Seismic Consequence (he also worked on Yakuza's 2007 album Transmutations), giving it a full, organic sound that suits the band's thrashy yet psychedelic music. Opening track "The Ant People" is a drifting, wordless (but not instrumental) intro, which leads into the furious "Thinning the Herd," on which Bruce Lamont's vocals are somewhere between a croon and a chant; the harsh death metal barking he's used on earlier discs is almost gone at this point. On the third track, "Stones and Bones," he unleashes his secret weapon, the saxophone, adding a Hawkwind-ish element to the song's Tool-meets-Brutal Truth roar. Toward the album's midpoint, the tracks get longer, with the eight-minute "Be That as It May" followed by the 11-minute "Farewell to the Flesh." Both tracks are mellow, with occasional surges and plenty of reverberant guitar chords. "Testing the Water" is probably the album's most saxophone-dominated track, while "Good Riddance (Knuckle Walkers)" and "The Great War" are short blasts of punky aggression, the latter track featuring bursts of distorted shouting. When the album concludes with the slowly building "Deluge," the ultimate impression is of a band that's finally found its voice and is ready to take listeners on a journey that mirrors the human mind -- frequently introspective, but just as frequently given to flashes of blind fury.

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