Yautja – The Lurch (Review)

<iframe width="400" height="439" style="position: relative; display: block; width: 400px; height: 439px;" src="//bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=3554547532/size=large/bgcol=262a2b/linkcol=006ac3/artwork=small/" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0"></iframe>This is the second album from US sludge metal band Yautja.

The Lurch is a 46-minute hybrid of ugly sludge metal, vicious grind, and filthy punk. With less grindcore on display than on their previous 2014 album Songs of Descent, The Lurch is still a gnashing, biting thing. This album is violence and rage given aural form, but in atypical ways. The songs are belligerent in their application of force, but intelligent at the same time; The Lurch will beat you savagely, but it will do so with a knowing smile.

The songs may be brutal and aggressive, but they have a character of their own, making Yautja somewhat of a rare treat in that they don’t immediately remind you of a million other bands. There are definitely reference points that can be thrown around, (early Mastodon meets Converge, for example, is just one interpretation of Yautja’s sound), but I’m mostly content to say that the band’s brand of focused chaos is something that should be experienced on its own terms, and the listener can then make any other connections necessary.

The songs are well-written and surprisingly catchy. Yautja have an inventive streak that seems to have been nurtured over the years. You can still hear the band that they were, quite explicitly in places, but I like that The Lurch takes them to new levels of extremity and songwriting skill. Building on the strengths of Songs of Descent, developing them, and then fleshing them out with an increased sense of dynamics, emotive heaviness, and savage intensity, the Yautja of 2021 is a satisfying and rewarding beast.

I should note that this development of the band has probably happened in plain sight over time – they have released a raft of EPs and splits since Songs of Descent – but sadly I’ve missed these. Regardless, The Lurch is better than I could have expected, and I strongly urge you to get on board the Yautja train.

Very highly recommended.

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