Yakuza – Sutra (Review)

Yakuza - SutraThis is the seventh album from US avant-garde/experimental doom band Yakuza.

Sutra is a 54-minute journey into the unexpected and the atypical. Few genre tags will do this justice, so I’ve settled on avant-garde doom, which is vague enough to be relevant, so why not. Whatever you call them, Yakuza have provided a multifaceted metal album that’s diverse and enjoyable.

Yakuza are clearly a creative force, and the songs on Sutra are well-crafted in a range of inventive ways. Although you’ll find here many recognisable ingredients – and some not so recognisable – you’ll also find a plethora of non-standard interpretations, ideas, and approaches to these ingredients. It’s all very tasty, but in a very individual way. It’s applied holistically though, and nothing here sounds jarring or out of place. It’s all delivered within a doom-driven realm, but within this there are no rules to what Yakuza allow themselves to do.

Loosely taking a base of doom metal, Yakuza then maniacally stitch seemingly disparate parts of jazz, progressive rock, and psychedelia onto it. With expert appendages they shape it into an expansive framework of exploratory doom-drenched metal, the sort that has character, emotive appeal, experimental outbursts, killer riffs, and atmospheric weight, all in one. It’s enough to make you want to sit down.

It’s hard to pin the band down with reference to other acts, but as a rough approximation of what Sutra contains, think of an eclectic mix of bands such as Mastodon, Boris, Candiria, Keelhaul, Ufomammut, and -(16)-.

Sutra is an immersive and enjoyable listener. For explorers of avant-garde psychedelic doom, this is for you.


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