YAKUZA

Progressive Metal / Metalcore / Avant-garde Metal • United States
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Yakuza is an avant-garde metal band, formed in Chicago in 1999. They have been acclaimed for their incorporation of jazz and world music elements.

Staying deeply rooted in a genre all its own, Yakuza’s existence lies on a metal base with progressive flair, while somehow also incorporating elements of jazz, world beat, and post-rock ambience.

Yakuza was formed in 1999 by the Chicago quartet of instrumentalists Jim Staffel, Eric Plonka, Bruce Lamont and Eric Clark. Using unusual instruments like the saxophone and clarinet, and incorporating free jazz, world music, and psychedelic music, the band debuted with its independently-released album Amount to Nothing in 2001. The album was met with acclaim from Terrorizer and the Chicago Sun Times. Yakuza followed its release with a tour alongside Candiria and Burnt by the Sun, eventually leading to a slot on the Vans Warped Tour.

Such exposure led to a record contract and the
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BeyulBeyul
Profound Lore 2012
$9.02
$6.48 (used)
Of Seismic ConsequenceOf Seismic Consequence
Profound Lore 2010
$10.46
$7.95 (used)
SamsaraSamsara
Prosthetic 2006
$59.95
$9.95 (used)
Way of the DeadWay of the Dead
Century Media 2002
$29.99
$4.74 (used)
TransmutationsTransmutations
Prosthetic Records 2007
$8.84
$0.98 (used)
Of Seismic Consequence by YAKUZA (2010-06-22)Of Seismic Consequence by YAKUZA (2010-06-22)
Profound Lore
$29.71
Way of the Dead by Yakuza (2002-10-15)Way of the Dead by Yakuza (2002-10-15)
Century Media
$63.90
Beyul by Yakuza (2013-05-04)Beyul by Yakuza (2013-05-04)
Profound Lore
$25.67 (used)
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Bart Claessen - Catch Me - Yakuza - 2008 #267725 Bart Claessen - Catch Me - Yakuza - 2008 #267725 USD $3.89 Buy It Now 16 days
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Yakuza - Beyul [CD] Yakuza - Beyul [CD] USD $16.86 Buy It Now 22 days
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FILM SCORE EARTHQUAKE , THE YAKUZA 7 FILM SCORE EARTHQUAKE , THE YAKUZA 7" PS Japan USD $11.00 Buy It Now 26 days
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YAKUZA Discography

YAKUZA albums / top albums

YAKUZA Amount To Nothing album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Amount To Nothing
Progressive Metal 2001
YAKUZA Way Of The Dead album cover 3.58 | 4 ratings
Way Of The Dead
Progressive Metal 2002
YAKUZA Samsara album cover 4.00 | 3 ratings
Samsara
Metalcore 2006
YAKUZA Transmutations album cover 3.00 | 4 ratings
Transmutations
Avant-garde Metal 2007
YAKUZA Of Seismic Consequence album cover 4.00 | 7 ratings
Of Seismic Consequence
Progressive Metal 2010
YAKUZA Beyul album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Beyul
Progressive Metal 2012
YAKUZA Kabuki Mono album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Kabuki Mono
Progressive Metal 2014

YAKUZA EPs & splits

YAKUZA live albums

YAKUZA demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

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YAKUZA Reviews

YAKUZA Way Of The Dead

Album · 2002 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Way of the Dead" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US experimental metal act Yakuza. After gaining attention with their debut full-length studio album, "Amount to Nothing (2001)" with was released on the small Del Diablo label, the band caught the attention of Century Media Records, who signed the band and released "Way of the Dead" in 2002.

The band play a really eclectic and at times experimental type of metal. The music is somewhat rooted in hardcore and there are some raw sludgy elements in the music too, but especially the addition of saxophone/clarinet to the band´s more traditional rock instrumentation of bass, guitars, drums and vocals, provide the sound with an avant garde (at times free jazz type) element. There are also keyboards and percussion on the album.

The vocals by Bruce Lamont (who also handles saxophone/clarinet) are predominantly shouting and raw, but he is one of those rare breed raw type vocalists who manage to put melodies into his harsh and distorted singing style. A feature that provides the vocal part of the music with a nice dynamic. The music is generally aggressive with edgy hardcore/sludge metal riffing, heavy yet cleverly played rhythms and the occasional mellower part, which are no less intriguing.

"Way of the Dead" is a pretty long album with it´s 70:42 minutes long playing time. The first seven tracks on the album are pretty much as I´ve described the music above, but the 8th and closing track "01000011110011" is very different from the rest of the tracks. It´s a 43:24 minutes long jamming type track, with no heavy distored riffing, no vocals and a focus on atmospheric saxophone/clarinet playing. A mellow, laid back and ambient track. I enjoy the track for about 10 minutes and then my attention wanders. If you ask me there´s no reason for this track to drag on for so long, when so little happens, but I guess people more into long drawn ambient and atmospheric music will appreciate this more than I do. I much prefer the more "regular" tracks on the album, which are all full of great energy, adventurous songwriting ideas, and high level musicianship. Add to that a powerful sound production and "Way of the Dead" is not only a quality album release by Yakuza, it´s a highly recommended listen. If "01000011110011" had been shorter or had progressed in a more interesting direction I would have rated "Way of the Dead" with a full 4 star (80%) rating, but because of that track a half star comes off and therefore a 3.5 star (70%) rating is warranted.

YAKUZA Way Of The Dead

Album · 2002 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
bonnek
Yakuza's second album 'Way of the Dead' is a disturbing journey through the schizoid minds of its creators, offering music that shifts between laid-back psychedelic jazz jams and brutal sludge/hardcore (think Mastodon before they started adding iffy things like clean vocals and melodies).

The band doesn't bend the two components of their sound into one fluent style, but instead they simply switch styles inbetween separate songs: the first half of the album is dominated by heavy rough hardcore, and the closing 43 minutes long '01000011110011' is a stretched out post-rock jam recalling Miles Davis' psych-jazz jams of the early 70's, with Bruce Lamon's sax and clarinet taking up the trumpet role. Nothing heavy or metal about this track and it must have greatly disturbed expecting hardcore fans. For me it's the best bit of the album.

The band was put on hold after this album, but they returned 4 years later with an impressive series of albums that would further explore and perfect the two polar opposites of their sound, ultimately ending in the masterpiece 'Of Seismic Consequence' where all the elements of their sound would fall into place to create something entirely new and unique. But that's a story for later. 3.5 stars so far.

YAKUZA Transmutations

Album · 2007 · Avant-garde Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
bonnek
'Transmutations' is Yakuza's 4th studio album and one that further explores their mix of hardcore metal with jazz and psychedelic influences. The only thing that seems to be missing now is memorable songwriting, and while I can enjoy the intensity of the performance and the uniqueness of their sound, a lot of the material here doesn't seem to cut it for me.

It starts pretty weak with 'Meat Curtains' where Matt McClelland mimics the whine of Ozzy in his clean vocals, but he misses the sickening evilness and Ozzy's knack for catchiness. And it's again the vocals that remain the main issue on 'Egocide', which suffers from vocal melodies that are too monotone. The music is great however. On 'Congestive Art-Failure' a vocoder is used to help out but it doesn't help. The track is mainly brutal, just like 'Praying For Asteroids'. None of both does much for me.

With 'Raus' the album finally starts showing the qualities of this band. The clean vocals work better here, evoking a certain Joy Division 'atmosphere'. Most of the track remains in quiet post-rock areas, with the saxophone providing a delicate jazzy touch. The track flows into the heavy outburst of 'Steal The Fire', showing that different 'ugly' face of the band again, and this time it works due to the strong music and emotional tension that preceded.

The album continues with the dissonant and chaotic 'The Blinding', which rivals The Swans in disconcerting and nauseating doom. It's wilder, more experimental and psychotic then the other tracks but quite astounding. I don't think I could handle an entire album of this but here it works. 'Existence Into Oblivian' is more typical, with melodic vocals dueling against brutal growls and busy tribal drumming. The psychedelic break near the end is magnificent.

'Perception Management' integrates the different aspects of Yakuza's sound, post-rock, jazz, psychedelica, sludge-metal, it all comes together and as unlikely as the combination may sound, Yakuza can make this sound natural and organic. It's without their real strength. Unfortunately, the album ends as it started, with 2 songs featuring less alluring melodies and - to my ears - rather whiny vocals.

All ingredients that make Yakuza great are in place but the songwriting is very uneven for me. The main body of the album is great, but I don't care much for the opening and closing tracks. The next one would be the real deal. This is one that only fans should seek out.

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