Reviewed by Gird_09
Yurei is a japanese form of ghost, and the word literally translates to faint spirit. In other words we are dealing with a world of ephemera. This theme is carried over by the artwork on the album cover. The gray scale image of a faceless individual sitting on bench surrounded by snow is as haunting as it is alluring. The freezing temperature is tangible.
Yurei is the brainchild of Bjeima, whom we mentioned in our review of Delirium Bound, and is a form of dissonant progressive music not easily classified. The roots are firmly in rock, but there is enough jazz on this album to make me want to call it experimental. Toss in some really heavy drum portions, and the genre busting is complete. In light of this I am not certain what to make of the title. There is certainly nothing working class about the style of music, but there is certainly something deeply demonic about it.
The first track doesn't do it for me at all. I have to admit that. I don't like the vocals, and the music fails to stand out. The second track however convinces me that this is an album that could really grow on me. The inclusion of a xylophone into the mix of various disarrayed instruments and dissosicative beats adds a level of atmosphere I really appreciate. By track three I am sold.
At times the arrangements are truly brilliant, and the instrumentation is perfect. I like the way the guitar interacts with the bass, and the various melodic portions, and I really appreciate the way the album progresses. For each track it feels like your are drawn further into a maze with Pompel and Pilt-like properties. Like the evil button eyed devil worshipping version of Åse Kleveland accompanied by Kryztof Komeda and Tony Iommi. I am convinced, and find myself drifting through a gray scale world of modernist polish horror films. I don't know if that makes sense to you, but it does to me. This is dark rock unlike anything I am familiar with. (Admittedly I am not much up to speed on the world of rock since Zeppelin disbanded...)
The track Suicide Sitcom is by far my favorite, with its predatory bassline, distorted vocals and generally sinister mood. The dissonant melodies and laugh track samples make me think of a collaboration between David Lynch and Jerry Springer. I am ensnared.
Yurei has taken a huge canon of music, and stuffed it into a very small box, but somehow (possibly using Time Lord technology) the contents fit like an eyeball in its socket. There is King Crimson, Black Sabbath and even some Popol Ace here, but there is also Sonic Youth and Angelo Badalamenti here, as well as a multitude of other things – and all of it decidedly sinister and dark. I even hear some Morricone in some portions. Unpacking the album would take me a very long time.
The only things I don't like about the album would be the vocals on the first two tracks, as they are a bit flat in the mix – to my ears, and the fact that the guitar sounds the same for nearly all the tracks. A little more variation would be appreciated. The guitar dominates the mix, and at times it's hard to separate the tracks. For the rest of the tracks the vocals are excellent however, and just pompous enough to fit the music. This is certainly not for everyone though. If the bass had been slightly more prominent in the mix the interaction between the guitar and the bass would have been perfect. Like on the final track, Phantom Lodge, where the bass carries the track excellently, but could have used a touch more volume. But that is nit picking.
I'm gonna be honest, and say that I have no way of reviewing this album with the competence it deserves, but... I like it. It's really cool. I can be really verbose about it, but that's all you really need to know.
Adversum, 2010, CD album, Norway
1 Brukket [4:55]
2 Your Black Waters [6:38]
3 The Bird of Dread [4:40]
4 Steamhead [5:22]
5 Velvet Demon [4:55]
6 Bleeding Thoughts [7:12]
7 I am Champagne [5:12]
8 Suicide Sitcom [5:09]
9 Vendetta [6:18]
10 The Last Wave [5:31]
11 Phantom Lodge [4:51]