Friday, 8 August 2014

Young and in the Way – When Life Comes to Death (2014) / 90%

Ass kicking foray into crusty black
Wheeeeeeeeen life comes to deaaaaaath!

I've been discovering the metallic hardcore/powerviolence/crust scene recently with bands such as AcxDC, Oathbreaker, Nails or Fall of Efrafa and lodging YAITW with this scene is not so much of a stretch. Nonetheless, the boys from North Carolina are, without a shred of doubt, a metal band. Many projects try to mix things up like including black metal to a rock & roll core like Kvelertak but these guys did way more than that. They integrated the crust elements to their black metal roots so deep down that the two are indivisible. You won't find a better hybrid band evolving in these two genres in 2014.

These guys are so freaking talented and I wish their folky alternative country side could be expanded. Like on V. Eternal Depression, there's once again a track reminding me of 16 Horsepower but even darker (if you heard David Eugene Edwards's project, you know it's not a light affirmation.) This track named “Shadow of Murder” is right before the long closer and it couldn't be better placed. The acoustic guitar shines like a drop of blood in a chalice of holy water and the deep, clean vocals intertwined with the harsh screams in the shadows made this song one of my favourites of the year. The misanthropic lyrics are delivered with such spite like in “Fuck My Life”, they're singing about the twists and turns of reality and that's much more profoundly scary than anything related to Lucifer and his downfall.

YAITW really rocks at these long intricate tracks but sadly they rarely do them, only like once per album. Maybe they wouldn't be special if they were more numerous, things can get tired quick sometimes. It's perhaps my doom sensibilities that is asking for these slower, crushing songs like “Embrace Extinction” but eh, I'm still more than satisfied with this album. It's still by far their longest release (and first one over half an hour) but it never gets boring since the pacing and direction is top notch. The production is tight and airy and compliments the guitars very well, it's menacing and threatening. The drums throwing blastbeats at you are conveniently buried under the deluge of the bass heavy black/crust tactful wave.

The core of the band is composed of fast numbers full of vitriol and hatred like “Be My Blood”. Inspired by the dirty side of black metal (a band like Marduk can definitely be heard here) but also sludge, death & roll or stoner. The guitar tone is vicious and fuzzy as hell, it's a dangerous record like the cover art implies and the band doesn't deviate from their act one bit. It's groovy, fast as fuck, overflow with riffs mixing the best of both worlds. There's also some parts giving you some necessary respite like in “Take My Hand”

Black metal cultists won't probably like this statement but these dudes are what the music genre needs to stay relevant. The third wave of black metal indeed shines with its variety and its ability to transcends (like Hunter Hunt-Hendrix would say) conventions. They're a band that Watain wish they would be, emotional, grasping metal with a darker than black aura without any unnecessary flourish and aping at Jon Nödtveidt's try hard Satanic altar.

On the same label as the (in)famous Deafheaven, a band who similarly do a good job at mixing post rock and black metal, Young and in the Way crushes all opposition and reigns as king to the black/punk/whatever kingdom. Prepared to be submerged by pig blood, that's a cleansing, essential record.

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