If it bleeds, we can kill it: Yautja – Songs of Descent

Morning folks. As promised, I finally got my ass in gear with some new music that I had bookmarked and forgotten about until a couple hours ago. The band is Yautja and the album is “Songs of Descent”, another entry in the burgeoning genre of noise-sludge-punk-kitchen sink that I happen to find so damn appealing. The band takes their name from the titular villain of “Predator”, the alien species that loves hunting, gutting and displaying trophies of everything from woolly mammoths to xenomorphs.

Credit goes to Austin Weber and his NCS review for pointing me in the direction of this Nashville-based trio. Although having a couple EP’s and demo’s in their back-catalog, this appears to be their first full-length LP and is a considerably hefty and tastefully brewed release. As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, they are firm subscribers to the current style that hybridizes many different elements from different heavy genres and cranks the resulting mixture out at punishing decibel levels.

This style has it’s downfalls though, as bands get stuck in sonic traps of excessive distortion, stale riffs or weak song structures. Just like I said a while ago with stoner rock, the over-saturation of a genre makes it a lot easier to tell when something comes along that really grabs you by the ankles, strings you from a tree and strips the skin from your flesh like “Songs of Descent” does.

I think the key to this album being a vicious killing machine is the hefty involvement of grind. Yautja use this genre of blastbeats and eye-bubbling aggression to temper the other elements of sludge and noise into shape, giving their music much more diversity and downright skull-crushing power. The influences ring clear as ground-shaking monolithic riffs come crashing up against waves of grind and noise induced vitriol, leaving charred earth and broken corpses in its wake.

Even with 14 tracks on this release, Yautja avoid the common pitfall of sonic drudgery that has the tendency to crop up in music this abrasive. With myriad combinations of time signatures and tempo changes, they manage to keep each track dynamic and interesting enough in its own right. Nailing groove after groove and cleansing your pallet with rusty razor blades and battery acid, this is a group of people who know exactly what the hell they are doing.

I really dig this album and really didn’t find any tracks or specific moments that left me wanting. As a fully-fleshed debut this is an impressive starting point for a band to build from. Yautja have established their own distinctive aesthetic, one with enough burl and might to trample lesser bands underfoot. The album is $7 on Bandcamp and you can rupture your blood vessels below.

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