FOCUS: Yautja


yautja_013Here’s a band I’ve been unaware of until recently, and I’m sure that may be the case for some of those reading. I’m gonna go over their short but savage and addicting catalog of steamrolling grind and hopefully convince some of you to check them out.

Update: I got my hands on both so photos have been added as of (05/02/2014).

yautja_015Yautja (yowt-juh colloquially / e-wat-ya according to wiki, the Predator species) are a three piece from Nashville containing member(s) of Coliseum and Legion. This should give some indication as what kind of directions influences may come from.

They make truly dark grind in a subtle way with heaps of energy from the powerviolence end of things. The pace betrays the amount of atmosphere in some of their work, but when that’s not there the base underlying is so strong you’d be forgiven for not emphasizing said atmosphere.

Punishing, fast, and concise with a well of skill for sure as demonstrated on their two most recent outputs: their split with Enabler and a demo track off an upcoming EP. Their first demo cassette which I’ll get into as well is killer too, definitely no slouch and has some surprises.

The limited use of slightly ‘blackened’ or crusty atmosphere found in stuff like Young And In The Way is what I’m referring to, and it is indeed a very sparing and subtle injection of frosty, reverb laced twang left swirling in feedback. They blend this with the strong grind and powerviolence with a tiny bit of either deathgrind or death metal depending on how you’d like to cut it. The easiest place to hear it is in the last track on their split with Enabler which takes some satisfying turns.

While the two albums I’m covering here are from 2011 and 2012, they just recently posted this really twisted track from the demo as I mentioned, and it’s good indication of these elements getting more cohesive too. ‘Thankful; Appalled’ was posted at the beginning of this year and comes on the heels of their split with Enabler last year, showing off the newest form most likely to appear on their next record sometime early spring 2014.

It’s progressing nicely. Feedback and dry, choked screams for a moment and then aggressive shredding that meets some chunky breaks and squeaks from harmonics. In the last moments we meet this switch up in pacing to bouncy and angular, descending pull-offs that has a good old school ’90’s hardcore vibe to it and quickly disintegrates into ambiance.

Right now they have only the two records so lets get into them now.

yautja_014The split with Enabler is a shining example of sour grind indeed. Yautja offer three tracks on their side. You have ‘Dead Soil’ running at just under a minute and a half up first and it’s definitely my favorite. And really the only track to utilize that dark hardcore vibe in full. Opens up with a slick bass groove ala Bridgeburner and powers ahead like that for 20 seconds before a truly ugly break down, reprise and then a slower collapse.

It gets nice and crawling after a quick burst, then those darker elements creep in a little stronger and distort everything for just a moment with the ghost notes oscillating behind plunging, wobbling drumming (nice and slow).

The vocals throughout are abrasive and pissed as hell but it’s these hanging sections at the end, through the break downs, where they tower. Strained and desperate with lungs packed full of frustration; they’re slightly off mic too which adds to the intoxicating atmosphere. The climax is right at the end and leads into the sprinting ‘Losses’.

Speaking of: ‘Losses’ has more of that traditional punk/hardcore attack to it after the initial skirmish, more scratchy fills and scrapes. A scorching track that has a ton of wicked drumming under that grumbling, choppy guitar track that keeps pounding the listener with two or three speedy, ugly riffs. Bursts of shouts and real quick fills flying out left and right.

‘Human Den’, at two and a half minutes the longest song, turns into a death metal tune midway through. It starts with a filthy hardcore assault throwing in hammer-ons, punching through with strong rhythms — and then there’s a wicked death metal break down that triplets downward. It’s heavy as fuck and is augmented by the second channel on the fourth pass by dive bombing, groaning feedback and noise; along with those harsh screams. Right at the end it swings back to the opening passage for good measure.

Really great split material from this group, unique and powerful. The 7″ itself was available from Burnt Bridges Records but is long sold out. I still suggest spinning it if you can find it.

IMG_7542

Next is their demo cassette and it’s more raw but no less great. In fact they stretch out a little more in this ten minute, nicely pressed cassette from Tapes Of A Neon God. It’s also placing has a few interesting death metal quirks to it, with the drums far denser and vocals less distorted.

‘Blinders’ which has a death laced tremolo riff to open, and leads to more hardcore not long after. Blending the two and coming up very hypontic, ripping through with a killer rhythm at the end.

‘Tar And Blindness’ is more hardcore centered, with tasty bass licks and mid paced, bendy, palm-muted rhythms. The hook riff is huge coupled with the barked and spit words between the gaps, really good.

All throughout the drumming is stunning, but specifically around the two minute mark during those drop outs it’s great; only hampered by the production. And again these guys know how to tag the end of song (you’ll se that in the next one too) and again close with an outstanding and chunky riff.

A slightly faster track, ‘Concrete Tongue’, gets nice and grindy in the middle but is book-ended by more groove portions. That last riff is delicious and is backed by some equally killer flailing drumming.

It’s followed by the stumbling ‘Teeth’, the opening moments sounding angular or haphazard with quick climbs and lost of kit work which makes it a unreal open. Working into a groove after that then fleshing out the opening riffs with a bit more technicality. The opening lone riff is a nice touch too.

The last track is which comes pretty quickly after the previous one is actually a Black Flag cover (‘Modern Man’), quite a heavy one at that. This demo is very strong, and when considering both releases it’s tough to pick any weak point in either. Big recommendations here.

I’m real late on these guys I know. Those reading should give them a listen if interested in hardcore or grind at all. Hopefully you find this overview useful and you support these guys. You can also stream the demo cassette through SoundCloud via Tapes Of A Neon God‘s channel or over at their bandcamp (where you can download it as a pay-what-you-want).

Essentially all of their stuff is sold out but check local distros because you never know where you’ll find a stray copy. As mention rumors are early 2014 they have that new record planned (UPDATE 12/11/2013: according to Forcefield Records, titled Songs of Descent), so keep an eye on that because the new one is sure to be phenomenal.

2 thoughts on “FOCUS: Yautja

  1. Pingback: Yautja – Songs of Descent (2014) — LP REVIEW | THE|PLOW|BEHIND|YOU

  2. Pingback: Songs Of Descent... YAUTJA In-Depth Review + Stream « CVLT Nation

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