Nashville’s Yautja mix sludge, grindcore, doom on impressive debut ‘Songs of Descent’

Mondays always suck, so if you’re in need of a little motivation today, might I recommend spending some time with Yautja and their face-mangling debut record “Songs of Descent”? If you’re not ready to go after listening to this record, with blood fully pumping, then I’m not sure anything is going to work for you. Maybe go back to bed.

Yautja is another rock-solid entry from the always reliable Forcefield Records (Inter Arma, Windhand, Bastard Sapling, Earthling) and rise from Nashville, a place most people align with country music, and for good reason, but that also has some pretty great indie rock bands and metal acts. This band is comprised of member of other notable bands such as Coliseum, Gnarwhal, and Nameless Cults, and they combine grind, sludge, death, and doom into a 14-track, 37-minute package that is filthy, heavy, and damaging. In fact, after listening to this thing for yet another time over the weekend, I was so motivated to go do some damage somewhere that I went and shoveled six inches of snow out of my driveway. How’s that for motivation?

Yautja coverYautja is comprised of three people making all of this noise, notably guitarist/vocalist Shibby Poole, drummer/vocalist Tyler Coburn, and bassist vocalist Kayhan Vaziri. Ever since their formation in early 2010, have been mauling people live, and putting out music here and there, namely an EP called “2011” and a 7-inch release with Enabler. They comprise all kinds of different sound on “Songs of Descent,” and while they fit nicely into the heavy metal stronghold, they offer sounds beyond that, going into noise rock and even some hardcore leanings. This record also is a pretty fun listen, as you’d probably expect from something I described as having serious kick-you-in-the-ass qualities, and these songs sound like they’ll scald you live.

The album opens with a noisy, thick instrumental “Path of Descent” that runs headlong into “Denihilist,” a crafitly named track that has some blistering bass work, punchy melodies, and screamy vocals. It’s a mangy, thrashy thing that also slips into doom from time to time. “Blinders” is a furious blast of grindcore madness, with burly riffs and violent vocals intent to do major damage, while “Concrete Tongue” blasts by in just under a minute, with blinding intensity and ill intent. “Tar and Blindness” is pretty aptly named, as its sludgy and muddy, eventually giving way to more grind fury, throaty howls, and sonic devastation. “Teeth” is another short one, with a slower pace and penetrating buzzing, which leads into the record’s epic “Faith Resigned,” that runs 6:53. This cut is relentlessly heavy, tough as nails, and eventually storming with fury. The band just destroys everything in its wake, with feedback wailing and aiming to cut flesh, guitars soaring into the stratosphere, and a killer instinct.

“Path to Ground” is a short instrumental that’s slow moving and ominous, and that leads into “An Exit,” a fast bit of hardcore-style punishment and grind intensity. “A Crawl” is a calculated bruiser, taking its time setting up its fire, before launching into a diatribe that has wild screams and animalistic violence. “Of Descent” is the second-longest track on the record at 5:06, and it, too, has a deliberate pace that isn’t trying to hurry up, but instead treads in place and let the storm build. There are bursts of speed, mauling doom passages, and throaty growls, and as the song reaches its finish, the drums whip into a frenzy and leaves welts. “Humility-Humanity” has some tricky guitar work (this is where the Jesus Lizard comparisons ring true), slurry melodies, and some bits of brutality. “A Cleansing Fire” is a noisy, drowned-out interlude that leads into the closer “Chemical,” complete with black metal-style riffing, clubbing madness, and out-of-control smashing, like a car without a driver heading down a hill toward its certain destruction. It’s a pretty impressive way to finish off this stellar debut record.

Yautja have effectively kicked our ass on “Songs of Descent,” a damn fine record by a band that’ll get you ready to get some shit done in your life or else. It’s another great find by Forcefield and one of the early killer debut albums of the year that hopefully will result in bruised bodies and punished eardrums everywhere they play.

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