Thursday, 8 September 2016

ALBUM REVIEW + FULL ALBUM STREAM: Ayahuasca - "YIN"

By: Phil Weller

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 09/09/2016
Label: Independent



Throughout, nothing ever quite sits right, like a jigsaw with a few missing pieces: The spasmodic guitar work of ‘Dark Matter God’ is a fitting example of this. Yet they find, upon that uncomfortable platform, a way to drill into your psyche excellently. It may be weird, but it has an uncanny way of selling itself to you.

YIN” DD track listing:

1). The Dodged Now
2). Born Into A Sadness Machine
3). YIN
4). Dark Matter God
5). Dinosaurs
6). Mange
7). Carbon
8). Left Skull Prison
9). Collapse Of A Lifelong Lie
10). You, The Siren And The Endless Void
11). Mountain Of Snakes
12). White Ship

The Review:

Paradoxically, Ayahuasca, through the channelling of dark and beguiled grunge dirges and the booming sonic intensity of doom, conjure a sound that is as depressing as it is uplifting. Major tones, specifically through a vocal intonation reminiscent of the late Layne Stayley, are haunted with dread and despair, minor tones meanwhile peppered with hope. On ‘YIN’ they have birthed the bastard child of two emotions to one that isn’t explicitly either, but its circus freak upbringing – its replication of some many familiar sounds pieced together in an unfamiliar way – is what makes it such an engrossing listen.   

Named after an entheogenic brew used in a religious, shamanic, or even spiritual context, such a choice of moniker is telling of the Canadian band’s mindset. So it is no surprise that acid trip atmospherics – whirling sound effects and disjointed, prickling textures – float through the record like a chilling breeze, the slow, deadly thump of ‘The Dodged Now’ introducing the band to great avail. Berserk Lout's huge, Layne Stayley like falsetto instantly makes its mark upon a song that, musically, does little else. But where they are minimalist there, the fast paced attack of ‘Born Into A Sadness Machine’, which evokes on-form Screaming Trees in parts, and the ghastly title-track, which fluctuates between a jarring riff and crippled grooves, go on to reveal a band that keeps you guessing.

Here, along with the monstrous stomp of ‘Dinosaurs’ they are at their most straight forward. Still feisty and gritty, but in their Sunday Best. The best/worst (their true self) is yet to come.  

And that’s the thing. At a glance, it would be so easy to cast this as a dirty, denim clad throwback to an era where grunge, and the working class underdogs that created it, was king. The chorus of ‘Dinosaurs’, for instance, would sound right at home on ‘Dirt’. But, while indeed it masterfully reminds the listener of so many of the world beating aesthetics that those bands crafted as their own all them years ago – hints Pearl Jam and Soundgarden sneaking through the cracks of the bombastic ‘Mange’ – there is something unique nestling within their dingy product.

"There's no time, in her eyes, look inside," yelps Lout in a Mike Patton fashioned way on 'You, The Siren And The Endless Void'. He does so atop the usual throbbing drone of guitars and drums, but with the inclusion of a mandolin – sounding so out-of-place yet brilliantly eccentric for it – here is yet another twist in this record's tale. And one, it must be said, that keeps your attention firmly focussed on what’s around the next crooked corner. 

Throughout, nothing ever quite sits right, like a jigsaw with a few missing pieces: The spasmodic guitar work of ‘Dark Matter God’ is a fitting example of this. Yet they find, upon that uncomfortable platform, a way to drill into your psyche excellently. It may be weird, but it has an uncanny way of selling itself to you.

Left Skull Prison’, perhaps where the Layne Stayley comparisons become most obviously beside grinding guitars and an almost spiritual countenance, and the “Blood Mountain” era Mastadon dynamic attack of ‘Mountain of Snakes’, could so easily be two bands. They’d be stark contrasts of each other were it not for that chilling breeze, and that paradoxical depressing/uplifting effect it has upon you. By doing so, they have sewn together a diverse and engaging album that is so much more than ‘grunge revived’

‘YIN’ is available here



Band info: bandcamp || facebook

1 comment:

John Baxter said...

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Ayahuasca Reviews