“Avant-garde metal” and “Jazzcore” aren’t normally two genre defining categories that go together in music, but Chicago’s own experi-metallers, Yakuza, make it work like a charm.
It’s been a very fast, productive decade and a half for these guys. Formed in 1999, Yakuza independently-released their debut album, Amount to Nothing, the following year. Quickly receiving critical acclaim and write ups in major publications, the band landed a slot on the very popular Vans Warped Tour, and toured with bands like Candiria and Burnt by the Sun. Independent artists no more, with a record deal in hand, Yakuza went on to record their sophomore release, Way of the Dead, in 2002, which even included a guest appearance by jazz saxophonist and clarinetist Ken Vandermark.
The years since had blossomed with additional releases, and tours opening for the likes of Opeth, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon, and more. And although Yakuza has an impressive repertoire spanning the entire length of their career thus far, there’s always been something special about those first few albums. And in 2014, Yakuza is bringing them back and making them new again.
On July 1, Yakuza will reissue their albums, Amount To Nothing and Way Of The Dead. The latter will include a cover of the wonderful John Coltrane tune “Seraphic Light” as a bonus track.
In mid-July, the band will then reissue the following albums: 2006’s Samsara and 2007’s Transmutations. Samsara will feature two bonus tunes, a remix of “Back To The Mountain” as well as “The Ballad Of Mr. K.,” while Transmutations is set to include a remix of “The Blinding.”
And as if that’s not already enough great nes, then Yakuza is really going to turn up the heat for the end of the month and put out a never-before-released, “improvisational” recording. Named for Yakuza’s moniker when the band would perform mostly instrumental improvisational sets in Chicago, the album will be entitled Kabuki Mono. The material on Kabuki Mono was originally recorded in the studio in 2001 but never saw the light of day…until now.
“It’s great that these recordings are available again as so to document the lineage of Yakuza but we are a band who does not dwell in the past. Into the future. Onward!” exclaims Yakuza front-man and saxophonist, Bruce Lamont.
But even all that isn’t all that’s happening in Yakuza camp. The band has recently recorded over 100 minutes of improvised material, much like what fan’s will hear on the Kabuki Mono recording, and plans to put the best takes together for a new release sometime early in 2015.
To learn more about Yakuza, and to find out how to get your copies of the new reissues, please visit the band’s official Facebook page.