Yakuza Way Of The Dead

Chicago's Yakuza are out to break down barriers with Way Of The Dead, their second full-length and first for Century Media. While this band truly sounds like no other, good starting points would be Faith No More's more difficult material (or Mr. Bungle's more accessible moments), smart alterna-metal like Helmet and Tool and a penchant for calm yet dramatic jazz breaks. Way Of The Dead is essentially two pieces: the first seven songs and the last song. The first seven toy around in quirky and difficult underground avant-garde metal. As talented and unique as they are, these songs end up annoying as much as they do impressing, with the constant switches of mood and tempo being rather hard to get familiar with. There is joy to be found, but Yakuza will make the listener work for it, that's for sure. The album's most captivating song is the 43-minute closer "01000011110011," which is a soothing, droning jazz piece that maintains a steady cyclic repetition that could soothe all the minds that just sat through the first seven songs of dissonant, jarring noise rock. Yakuza are impressive and a breath of fresh air, but this one takes some effort to get to the goods. (Century Media)