Ya̧nomamö – Capitolo Due (Von Grimm Records)
At 13:45 minutes:seconds, Ya̧nomamö’s latest two-song EP is not going to take up too much of your time. At least, not relative to a full-length. That is actually a real pity, as after the last “dulcet tone” from vocalist Anthony Von Grimm faded from my speakers, I wanted more. Quite a lot more, in fact.
Before I elaborate, I will link you to the bandcamp page where Capitolo Due is. On it, you will find the following listing of the line-up:
Anthony ‘Salami’ Von Grimm – Dulcet Tones
Jason ‘Ludacris’ Higson – Feedback & Gain
Paul ‘The Good Egg’ Attard – Maximum Bottom End
Matthew ‘Lil Matt’ Shriffer – Concussion
I can think of many ways to describe Von Grimm’s singing, but dulcet is not among them. No, his voice on this recording more sort of reminds me of when I really urgently need to shit, and yet all of the heaving in the world is not getting the job done. Whilst my singing voice is noticeably deeper-pitched, that “uuurrrrgh”-like sound is more or less the same.
Okay, if you are particularly dense or ignorant of the doom metal way, then you might need me to inform you that this means I like the record.
Production-wise, the recording seems pretty good. A group from Sydney that is playing the kind of sound I describe here is unlikely to ever afford tens of thousands of dollars to produce the most perfect record. But the drums, guitar, and bass are clear enough for them all to be heard independently of each other, even on a mid-level set of Logitech speakers connected to a computer. There does seem to be a disparity in volume between the instruments and Von Grimm’s vocals, but not an inconsistent or dramatic one enough to even remotely suggest Panzerfaust-style sidechaining. More simply a case of the vocals being given a slightly disparate priority in the mix. (Edit 2114 hours: After finally managing to obtain a copy of the songs in FLAC format, I retract all of this paragraph. On the bandcamp page, it is still true. The files I am listening to now are a different story. Every instrument is exactly what it should be, and the sound is even better, making me appreciate the guitar, bass, drum, and vocal sounds even more. Let this be a lesson, MP3/YouChoob is good enough crowd: you are sorely mistaken.)
Ya̧nomamö’s sound sort of brings to mind the question of what Black Sabbath would have sounded like if they did not add all of the keyboard and other artsy-fartsy sounds that grew in prominence between 1971 and 1975. No harmony or artsy-fartsy is to be found on this recording, just a sludgy groove that would not sound out of place on the new Black Sabbath record. Come to think of it, Black Sabbath, if you are listening, chuck songs like Loner and replace them with A Bag of Bones & a Machine Gun. We will both be happier that way.
Higson and Attard seem to settle into a nice grindy groove that is pleasant and can be played along with. They definitely are not bad, never missing a note and giving plenty of sludgy blues-based riffs that can be slam-danced along with as the listener pleases. One moment about two minutes into A Bag of Bones & a Machine Gun, definitely the most Lord Of This World-reminiscent of the EP in total, had me bouncing along in joy. But Von Grimm’s Dani Filth-meets-Sylvain Houde style of screeching over the top is what gets the lion’s share of the attention in this outing.
Or maybe I am just remembering watching him climb up on audience members to sing his vocal parts into people’s faces at one show. I cannot help getting that into my head when I play anything Ya̧nomamö offer. It is not the sort of thing you forget easily, especially when you are used to a greater level of disconnect between performer and audience.
Second song, The Knights of Malta, offers a different set of grooves and is generally more upbeat, giving Higson, Attard, and drummer Shriffer more of a chance to show off their skills. Again, they set down an enjoyable grooving rhythm that one can bob about to whilst typing nonsense words or working on the internals of a computer.
Once again, Von Grimm is again the star here, offering a roaring shriek that leaves me wondering whether to bring him anti-seizure medication or laxatives. Or both. I am not going to kid you about this. I have no idea what he is singing about. That more reflects on me than him, as I have a tendency to phase vocals out when I listen to music. When I was a not-so-little boy, I grew fukked off at people who claim X or Y is a bad record because they cannot understand the words that I began to spit at them that I can listen past a voice.
Anthony Von Grimm is one of those vocalists who can make me suspend that protestant ability to phase out people’s voices, and actually listen to what he is singing about. It does not make it any easier for me to understand him, but the aesthetic quality of his vocals makes that irrelevant. I love his work simply because he puts the right sense of urgency and hurt into it. An urgency and hurt befitting doom metal, you might say.
On a similar subject, no lyrics are offered on the bandcamp site, nor are any links that might point one towards them. Not that I generally get hung up on the words, but when one hears a man shrieking and heaving like this, one does feel some compulsion to work out what the hell he is on about. All kidding aside, Capitolo Due is available now on Bandcamp for a total of five Australian dollars (no idea what that works out to in real money).
Bottom line? It is late, you are sitting amongst a group of friends or people you just happen to hate less, and you are all so stoned on weed, acid, or nitrous oxide (to name but a few) that you can only just walk to the CD player or turntable and change the disc. Ya̧nomamö’s Capitolo Due is the record you should put on if you have not done so already. And if you have, do it again, have a sing-along (even if you do not understand what Von Grimm is heaving out).
On a scale of five stars, five being the most indispensable recording you are likely to obtain this year, I would put Capitolo Due at four and a half. I cannot picture myself listening to it on endless repeat for hours at a time, but I am certain that there are other doom metal fans who will feel differently. In any case, my theory that places where serious disparities between have and have not exist produce the best doom metal is more than firmly backed up by Capitolo Due.
Go out and get yourself a copy already. I have run out of words to try and convince you to do so with. Piss off.