We have had a little bit of a wait for their debut album, having been impressed and increasingly hooked on the Yugal sound through previous EP Enter the Madness, but anticipation has been forcibly rewarded by one richly enjoyable confrontation in the shape of Chaos & Harmony.
Carrying an organic continuation of their earlier sound but with the more unique surprises and elements its predecessors lacked, Chaos & Harmony is a fierce and imposing tapestry of contrasting and conflicting textures spun from the seeds of hardcore, death, and thrash metal. Its sound reflects the disparity yet balance suggested by the album’s title and the band’s Tibetan language derived name, both a representation of “the concept of universal duality” where two antagonistic constituents are indivisible.
Hailing from Vannes in Brittany, the 2010 formed Yugal lured awareness the following year with the demo From Pain to Pleasure before six track EP Illusion of Time two years later sparked concentrated attention upon the quartet which Enter The Madness reinforced and pushed on in 2014. The time between EP and album has seen the band hone their sound and songwriting to new heights and though at times it feels like Yugal are still on the way to rather than having found their final sound, Chaos & Harmony has replaced any ‘deficiencies’ before with a new individual and fresh forged imagination boldness.
The album opens with the gorgeous enticement of Khamsin, a Middle Eastern flavoured lure of guitar within seconds leading a seduction equally hinting at the entangling musical dissidence to come. The instrumental’s melodic romance and exotic charms are courted by shadows and the portentous thump of anthemic beats; a union which entices but with an element of intimidation before Once Upon a Lie rises up to consume ears with rapacious riffs and bludgeoning rhythms. Wiry grooves are soon entangling the song as the throbbing bait of the bass grips ears as potently as the throaty growl of vocalist Guillaume. A commanding fusion of death and thrash, the song is quickly a potent proposal but truly comes into its own as suggestive melodies and psychotic twists begin to emerge; each more glimpses than song changing elements but all adding drama and unpredictability to the song.
Heavy Mental follows devouring the senses with vicious riffs and senses whipping beats as grooves taunt and the bass subsequently spins its own threat loaded magnetic dance. Drops into reserved but more predatory passages surprise and thrill as too the variety of voice and melodic enterprise; it all an absorbing web spun again by From This Day I Will Rise in its own individual design. Opening with a Breed 77 like coaxing, again as exotic as it is welcoming, the song looms up around that continuing lure with a wall of imposing rhythms and grouchy riffs. It is a threat which never fully lands but evolves into an invasive and invigorating trespass again still cored by the Eastern elegance and mystique the track started with.
From one superb offering to another as Dogma prowls and taunts the senses; its muscular rhythms and choleric intensity almost bestial but again an aggressor on a leash which allows clarity to the elements within and their infectious union. A further momentary pull on its reins allows a calmer attack opens the flood gates to thrash inspired riffs and an energy which alone invades and excites, though that in turn only leads to another twist in the song’s mercurial and relentlessly impressing landscape.
The imagination and cantankerous aggression already lighting the album continues as Illusion of Time stalks and flies at the listener with open fury, though a respite from the enterprising hostility is forthcoming through the brief instrumental Interlude. A close relation and in many ways continuation of the opener and an echo of the melodic beauty lying within the tempest of the previous track, it seduces ears and imagination before they are again under siege, this time from the barbarous attack of Silence is Golden. It too is an uncompromising tapestry woven with animosity and a virulent catchiness which is as venomous as it is addictive; each further bound in spicy melodic strands.
Another stirring moment within Chaos & Harmony, its quality and success is matched by the punk infused Lost Mind, the band’s hardcore influences at their most vocal but sublimely countered by the wires of Eastern promise which circle them and the variety of vocal imagination, something the band should definitely explore more ahead.
The album’s title track closes up Chaos & Harmony, a proposition which more than lives up to its name in tone and sound as it relentlessly courses through ears. Raw and rugged it ensures the album leaves with force and though it does not live up to what came before, the song confirms Yugal as a band coming of age and ready to grant global attention.
Chaos & Harmony is out now on iTunes and through other stores.
Pete RingMaster 07/12/2016
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