Its always funny how one band can lead you to finding another and in the case of Jacksonville Florida’s Yashira, their 2018 split EP with Zao led us to them with their song “Led To Ache“. 2020 is the fifth anniversary of the bands existence with their debut EP “We Find Ourselves In The Grief Of Others” being released at the same time and of all people Dylan Mikos, Luke Barber, Connor Anderson and Ryan O’Neal now count legendary producer Will Putney (Fit For An Autopsy, Knocked Loose, Thy Art Is Murder) as their general manager. The follow up to 2018 debut album “Shrine” entitled “Fail To Be” was produced by Greg Thomas (Misery Signals, Shai Hulud) before being engineered and mixed by Greg Thomas and Chris Teti at Silver Bullet Studios in Burlington, Connecticut and is adorned by cover art from Jesse Draxler (Daughters, Nine Inch Nails)…
As a band Yashira create a complex blend of Sludge infused Death Metal with an unpredictable and yet relentlessness to their sound with the swirling bad acid trip nausea riffs of “The Constant” opening the pit up in the same way that A Life Once Lost did back in the day. The pummeling build of the introduction feeding those eerily toned riffs before they break into more powerful off kilter broken chords that as the march to the gates of hell begins. The chaotic moments within their music make for a challenging and rewarding listen with “Shards of Heaven” picking up the baton and running with it, the rhythm section providing the underpinning that allows the guitars to go feral alongside the schizophrenic vocal attack with bursts of tempo shifts of varying lengths keeping you very much on the edge of your seat as a listener with shades of early The Dillinger Escape Plan. “The Weight” offers more swagger in the riff department, a swirling maelstrom that knows no end as it plagues the mind of the diseased during the ever downward spiral before the sounds of the tortured echo in the final moments. The quality of the drum sound is really something else on the album with every part of the kit heard clearly with the crispness of the sound and single “Impasse” which offers some post-metal moments is a fine example as a gargantuan battering ram that just keeps on coming back thanks to a wealth of pause break riffs that that switch up seamlessly. Getting Dylan Walker of Full Of Hell to appear on “Shades Erased” is something of a masterstroke for a multitude of reasons. Firstly it’s a track that suits him vocally down to the ground; secondly they are a pair of bands who could easily tour together and suit each others audience perfectly. As a song it continues the flow of the album nicely without necessarily standing out above the pack as its more of a drawn out affair with a skull crushing weight and gravity with some Will Haven esq monolithic moments rather than having those sharp, barbed bursts of the earlier material.
A haunting melody introduces “Amnesia” and draws a line in the sand after “Shades Erased” before the brutal vocals some into play along with some marching drum fills that partially past some Post-Hardcore riffs as the band play with light and shade. Despite the powerful and barbed outer shell there is a shoegazing quality of someone rocking back and forth in the fetal position that accompanies some of the later songs and by the time “Narrowed in Mirrored Light” introduces yet more unnerving melodies and some clean vocals, the whole thing has shifted as a piece into the territory of the progressive while threatening to explode at any point. Somehow “Inertia Mines” managed to find a balance between the light and the shade with the guitar tone of the more shoegazing predecessor reworked into a slightly more aggressive number with some nauseating riffs and bursts of aggression that culminate in blast beats that smash their way through the final verse. A fast growing East Asian climbing plant with reddish-purple flowers used as a fodder crop and for erosion control lends it’s name to the bands almost hallucinogenic final offering in “Kudzu“, a song of slow meandering and haunting melodies with the vocals of a waking nightmare until a brutal finish. As an album in “Fail To Be“, Yashira have created a film noir, the soundscape to something like “The Woman in the Window” which pushes you all the way to the edge of your comfort zone with some real harrowing and bleak moments [8/10]
Shards of Heaven
Shades Erased (ft. Dylan Walker of Full Of Hell)
Narrowed in Mirrored Light
“Fail To Be” by Yashira is out 11th December via Good Fight Music with pre-orders available over at bandcamp