Yatra arrive at death metal’s vile terrain with expanded stomping approach with ‘Born Into Chaos’

We tend to group bands into specific categories when it comes to heavy metal because we need a way to organize them in our brains and make it easier to explain to someone if they ask what a particular artist’s sound is like. We also kind of expect bands to remain in those buckets and keep making the same type of art they always have, and for the most part, that’s what happens.

Ocean City, MD, trio Yatra have become know for their gnarly, punishing brand of doom metal that they spread over three full-length albums from 2019 through 2020. Yes, they’ve been rather prolific in that short window. But the earth had been shifting under them, and now they’re back with “Born Into Chaos,” their first for Prosthetic and their steep turn toward death metal. If you really had been paying attention to the band’s development musically, this can’t be a huge surprise. Things have been getting uglier as the band—vocalist/guitarist Dana Helmuth, bassist Maria Geisbert, drummer Sean Lafferty—has turned the screws ever so slowly and ratcheted up the power. These eight tracks that spread over more than 38 minutes do optimal damage and deliver a more menacing beast that is lurking over you and getting ready to drive in the blade.  

“Death Cantation” gets started with riffs swirling and vicious growls touching down, immediately and forcefully letting you know things have changed. The playing guts as the power grows, and then the band slowly mauls before the leads light up, and everything comes to a snarling end. The title track lathers with more riffs and a hellish pace with a simple, yet effective chorus tearing through ribcages. The playing turns ugly in a hurry, boiling with heat and pressure with Helmuth wailing, “Baptized in blood!” as you’re trampled underfoot. “Wrath of the Warmaster” pulverizes in a hurry, pounding away as demonic howls rattle the walls. Some black metal elements make the aura scarier, and chaos spreads its wings, darkening skies as the relentless pace robs you of breath. “Terminate By the Sword” delivers a jerky tempo that sludges along, and then things pick up as things grow more volatile. The band goes back and forth from storming to calculating, speed coming in bursts, and Helmuth howling, “Termination! By sword!” as the track slips into the dark.

“Reign of Terror” arrives with splattering guitars and playing that feels like it rams your head off the walls. The approach flattens as the soloing lights up and causes blinding flashes, then things turn sooty and mean, the growls doing ample damage. “Terrorizer” has clawing riffs and playing that smears blood in your mouth, burning and causing your speech to slur. The drums come to life and completely decimate, and then the band grinds you in their gears, enveloping you in a pit of torture. “Omens of Fire” encircles with whipping riffs as things spiral out of control, the heat melting flesh. Terror increases as the growls gain momentum and aim for your throat while the playing gallops with fierce animosity, spindling out into the dirt. Closer “Tormentation” ensures you and your aching body won’t forget this final blast as vile growls and impossibly heavy guitar work look to maim permanently. The pace completely destroys, going off and making dust from your bones, ending in muddy violence.

Yatra’s conversion from doom to death metal wasn’t exactly an overnight thing, as their sound has grown more savage over their previous three full-lengths and has bubbled over on “Born Into Chaos.” That means seeing them live won’t make the old and new material foreign from each other, but the heaviness and intensity of these eight new songs certainly stand out among the pack. This is a bloodier, more vicious version of Yatra, one that could come back on its next record in any metallic form.  

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/yatradeath

To buy the album, go here: https://shop.prostheticrecords.com/products/yatra-born-into-chaos

For more on the label, go here: https://prostheticrecords.com/