Monday 17 November 2014

YAMA - Ananta (Album Review)

Ananta cover art

Album Type: Full Length
Label: Lighttown Fidelity
Date Released: December 2014 

'Ananta' CD/LP track listing:

1. Ananta
2. Anchor In Time
3. Hollow
4. Ruach Elohim
5. Migraine City
6. Swordsman Of The Crossroads I
7. Swordsman Of The Crossroads II
8. Vy

The Band:

Alex Schenkels | vocals
Peter Taverne | bass guitar
Joep Schmitz | drums
Sjoerd Albers | guitar


Yama from Holland are a strange entity within the Stoner Rock community. Well, that's my perception and I mean it in the best possible way. The foundation of their music has a rock solid foundation of rifforama just like Stoner but with a huge difference. Not being afraid to bring other elements, Yama has found the golden lining where influences are perfectly incorporated with their own ideas. Usually when a band pours too many styles into the fray, the outcome is extremely straggly and incoherent. Yama is on the other end of that spectra blending everything perfectly and subsequently, either intentionally or simply by chance, have reinvented the whole Stoner Rock sound. Another differentiating and beneficial factor is the minimal use of fuzz.

The title track, 'Ananta', launches the album and has a dark atmosphere about it in the verses only to hit totaly heaviness in the choruses. Riff by riff the song tears me apart accompanied by Alex haunted and tormented vocals. When Sjoerd fires off a pretty cool solo, Peter and Joep, on bass guitar and drums respectively, simply crush backing him up. Picking up the pace, 'Anchor In Time', adds flavours of heavy metal mixed with the attitude of early-days The Hellacopters only to go totally warped towards the end of the song. Breathtaking stuff, indeed! I love Alex voice, not only because he has a great voice, but also because he doesn't try to sound like John Garcia like every other Stoner singer. This is no more apparent in the fantastic 'Hollow'. Sounding almost like Andrew Eldritch of The Sisters Of Mercy at first, when the song explodes his power and force shines immensely. Slow, trippy and beautiful 'Ruach Elohim' weaves in and out through my consciousness this is the closest Yama ever gets to a "proper" Stoner song. There is a trainspotting moment in it...try to figure out when they go all Mercyful Fate/ KIng Diamond on you!

Coming across like Shrinebuilder's bastard son, 'Migraine City' crawls along in it's quest to pound you into the ground, bit by bit thoroughly with no remorse. Heavy and amazing is all I can say. Very doomy in it's entire approach, Swordsman Of The Crossroads I' even have bluesy bits here and there. Brings to mind a slowed-down Argus at their very best and I love it. 'Swordsman Of The Crossroads II' and is by far Yama's trippiest song. Just close your eyes and let the music sweep you away...beautiful!. Ending such an electric album as this with an acoustic opus is a bold move. Then again, Yama does not follow any rules but their own prompting 'Vy' to end this amazing release. Haunting, dark and eerie with some really good guitarwork by Sjoerd the song couldn't be a better closer.

Leading the group of bands I've heard this year that where totally unknown to me, Yama has the world at their feet. Having created a style of their own, they have all it takes to gain control of the world. That might be a bold statement by me, but these Dutch guys are phenomenal and I love everything about them and their full-length debut, 'Ananta'. Check them out damn it because you'll lose out if you don't!

Words by Håkan Nyman

Thanks to Yama for the promo. Ananta will be available to buy on CD/Vinyl from here on December 1st 2014.

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