YAKUT — Fractal (review)

YAKUT — Fractal album cover Album · 2012 · Atmospheric Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
YAKUT is the one-man project of Kentforth (of 6 Degrees and Eastwood) from the frigid Siberian remoteness of Tomsk, Russia. This project was started in 2002 and technically still active however to date YAKUT has only seen two releases. The 2008 EP “Длиною в жизнь…” and this 2012 full-length release FRACTAL.

This DIY project takes liberties in mixing up a few genres. The sounds heard mix everything from atmospheric black metal and post-rock to trip hop and even some jazz but is pretty much simply referred to as avant-garde black metal. While the majority of the music is is a mix of instrumental meandering and heavier parts that include ferocious screamed raspy vocals. A few clean vocals sneak in.

For black metal this is extraordinarily melodic with a constant atmospheric background. The guitars are the buzzsaw type but set back in the mix so that the atmospheric elements have qual billing. Unlike much black metal, the bass is independent and fully audible. The drums are merely lazy beat keepers with a few notable exceptions.

While as unintelligible as many black metal lyrics, the themes focus on the cosmos, despair, pain and egocentrism and share the similar characteristics of many regions of that world that create this music where winter is long and the sunlight is limited.

The production is not bad but the project does have a DIY home recording sort of feel to it but that’s not a bad thing because it keeps a lo-fi veneer to the heavy distortion of the guitars. The tracks actually vary quite a bit making this an interesting listening experience which is an accomplishment considering how many DIY black metal projects can result in tedium.

While the atmospheric black metal parts can resemble early Burzum, the non-metal parts can sound very avant-garde, even jazzy at times. Also some alternative metal riffing styles pop up but generally speaking the guitar riffing is the standard tremolo picking at high speeds. While i don’t mind the trip hop bits, sometimes such as the intro on the title track they sound a little out of place as if Portishead suddenly joined in but then was interrupted by an angry outburst of bombastic black metal!

Overall this is a decent album although the electronica sounds at odds with the black metal at times but is saved by a keen sense of melodic drive and the metal bombast comes through especially in the angry vocals. While FRACTAL won’t go down in history as one of the best examples of the atmospheric black metal style, it’s much more interesting than i expected and deserving of more than a single listen for sure.
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