James Staffel - Drums, Percussion, Keyboards
Matt McClelland - Guitars, Vocals
Jackson - Bass
Bruce Lamont - Saxophones, Clarinet, Vocals, Effects
With high praise from the metal press, local and national newspapers, and highbrow publications alike, Chicago's Yakuza has succeeded in garnering attention of all kinds, all the while not compromising the band's free-flowing and spontaneous musical integrity. Yakuza stays deeply rooted in a genre all its own: a metal base with progressive flair, while incorporating elements of jazz, world beat, and post-rock ambience. Picture (if you can) a mixture of King Crimson, all periods of John Coltrane's career, Tortoise, and Napalm Death. The end result is captivating, a sound that Rolling Stone, Revolver, Alternative Press, the Chicago Sun Times, the Chicago Tribune, All That Jazz and countless others all agree is refreshingly original, technically proficient, all the while still staying very metal.
Yakuza has always fundamentally been about bending the rules of preconceived musical limitations without ever having to utter a word about it, the Yakuza sound speaks for itself. Samsara, the new record and ensuing journey, is full of peaks and valleys, overtly harsh and aggressive at points, yet mind-trippingly mellow at others. The contrasting soundscapes collide together in an effective symbiosis, creating one of the most all-inclusive albums since Pink Floyd's The Wall. Skillfully weaving saxophone melodies and eerie musical landscapes alongside scathing metal riffs and screams alongside an intensely musical rhythm section, Yakuza cannot be considered an acquired taste - it is taste.
Samsara, the band's Prosthetic Records debut, sees these seasoned sound pioneers successfully follow up the positive media blitz from the bandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s last record, 2002's Way Of The Dead. After forming in 1999, and quickly releasing two albums in the next few years, Yakuza swiftly went on to gain crossover success live, playing alongside Opeth, ISIS, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Lacuna Coil, and Mastodon as well as Sonic Youth, Melt Banana, and jazz master Ken Vandermark.
Recording with Matt Bayles (Isis, Botch, Pearl Jam) at Volume Studios in Chicago, Yakuza enlisted a wide variety of musical guests on Samsara, including pianist Jim Baker, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, Sanford Parker, and Mastodon's Troy Sanders, further building on the sound the band has already established. Now with the record complete, Yakuza sets forth to continue combining unlikely genres into what can only be called a highly-original foray into previously uncharted musical waters.