For some strange reason, country music’s Mecca has spawned some of the most sinister new extreme music, presented to you by Yautja. A fitting name if there ever was one; their musical aesthetic is as deadly as it is alien and otherworldly. You’d be hard-pressed to find another band with such a small catalog with a sound this honed-in. Mixing together elements of spastic and mathematical grindcore with creepy experimentation and enough sludge to make speakers melt, there’s really quite little to gripe about here. Regardless of tempo or decibel level, Songs of Lament simply does not fuck around.
Following up the similarly-titled LP, 2014’s insanely-underappreciated Songs of Descent, this 7 track EP wastes absolutely no time delivering every element of their past with a much more immediate and streamlined approach. At just over 20 minutes in length, this band makes it immediately apparent how skilled they are at genre-hopping without transitions ever seeming forced or unnatural. Practically each song goes through one of these changes, and they’re better for doing so. Just at the point when you may be settling into one of the band’s angular and dizzying hardcore riffs (think Botch and Nails fighting for attention), things will screech to an immediate halt and trudge through some of the best Neurosis worship in recent history. It’s hard to pick which of these styles Yautja is better at pulling off, but it’s hard to deny that the album’s 9 minute closer “Crumbling” is perhaps the band’s most cohesive and triumphant moment yet.
While it may be almost too easy to fixate on the track that takes up almost half of the EP’s length, there are still plenty of unforgettable moments throughout. “Breed Regret” should serve as an incredible opener in the band’s set for quite some time, as it takes its time settling into a sea of fuzz before unleashing absolute hell. The album’s shorter transition tracks) all provide a taste of the band’s appreciation for adventurous and effects-driven moments that serve as perfect segues throughout as well. It’d also be a disservice to not mention how completely savage guitarist Shibby Poole and bassist Kayhan Vaziri’s vocals are. With just a slight level of overdrive, their screams and growls cut through perfectly in the mix and can hang with basically any big name band in hardcore. Sporting a beefy mix, crisp and stunningly-technical drumming from Tyler Coburn, and more riffs than you’ll be able to keep track of without at least a dozen listens, Songs of Lament is not to be slept on this late in the year.
Yautja’s Songs of Lament gets…