A few things of note on Poland’s extreme metal fusionists Youdash’s new album Astrophobia; One: crank the fucking thing, pretty much as loud as you can take it; Two: progression and fusion in the metal world is usually the mark of a band with more taste than they can ever possibly figure out how to present evenly, Youdash though, manages to showcase exquisite amounts of it, with aplomb and direction; Three: groove is killer when it’s tasteful, and dreadful when it’s not, and Youdash reminds us that groove can still be a thing of beauty; and Four: the bass is absolutely vital to strong extreme metal, and Youdash’s bassist Matz is like Jaco Pastorius on mean speed: punishing and artful.
As Astrophobia deepens in its journey, the band inflates like some chia pet with icicle spikes from the nether region. The album grows more intense, more progressive, and more spiraling with each track, locating the spot where technical death metal meets hell jazz. Add the swinging groove that Youdash does so exceptionally well, and the album explodes into every crevice of your existence: often dancing in tingles of darkness that produce epiphanies and absolute glee.
“Deathstar” is paramount, glowing in guitar solos from the infinite. Every time the band finds some new pocket region of technicality, they celebrate with ripping extensions and architecture that scatters like dark missiles from Earth. “Astral Anxiety” breaks off all Pat Metheny in outer space, with Vektor and Spawn of Possession-like nimbleness. It divides into individuality with pressurized creativity, not at all afraid of taking chances. Waves of thrash pummel and then release, and the tension is spectacular.
By the time “Force Guide” hits, you’re swirling wildly in the nexus region, grooving hard and eating up every transition and pulsing rhythm. The song breaks things up magically, with hard turns and geometric walls that let the tones and echoes drive adequately and free. It’s like a dance of Star Destroyers in some liquid force field. The band never forgets to destroy you. Grinding you into the center of nothing, like a nightmare drill from ECM Records.
Headbanging long into the night, Astrophobia takes you on a purposeful journey. It bends to no one, is wickedly contemporary, and perpetually grows stronger through its pristine vision. The last song on the album “Strip Tease” features the existential vocals of Uappa Terror from the thrash band Terrordome, and plays so killer and adaptable that by the time it’s over you’re left in a dizzying daze: you need more Youdash, we all need more Youdash.