Imagine the explosive demolition of an entire abandoned city block as a blanketing thunderstorm rages overhead with lightning strikes so intense that the sky itself seems to split with every flash, and you’d likely be pretty close to the experience of The Lurch, the obliterating new full-length album from Nashville’s grinding metallic hardcore trio Yautja.
The record, which is out now from Relapse Records, is consistently pummeling in terms of the sheer force of its songs, and the impact goes on from there — it’s thunderous and captivatingly unhinged. The crushing yet often shifting rhythms rushing across The Lurch frequently seem wracked with inward unease, as though settling into a state of psychological frenzy as concrete chunks go flying.
Generally, the entrancingly intricate songs seem unpredictable, which amplifies the volatility of the experience, as though sparks are flying at every hit.
With guitar tones and other musical textures that consistently prove thoroughly abrasive amid a largely thick mix, the instrumentals of The Lurch seem to roar with immersive fury, as though the universe itself has somehow begun to rage.
Structurally, some moments on The Lurch seem invigoratingly straightforward, with methodical riffing soaked in menace alongside walloping percussion, all of which together feels like experiencing an earthquake play out on repeat.
These more direct moments seem confrontational yet still unfold underneath a cloud of rattling disorientation, like the sonic equivalent of maniacally careening across a crater-filled and debris-strewn cityscape while covered in the dust of the area’s reckless destruction. In other words – it’s intense! Throughout the treacherous melee, the intensity stays blinding, no matter the particular dynamics that are unfolding.
Moments featuring methodically inclined blasts include parts of the tracks “Wired Depths” and “Clock Cleaner,” among other highlights. There’s ample unease here (just as in the less straightforwardly minded segments) thanks to the jarring force.
Yautja perform with frequently staggering and noticeably adept intensity, as though capturing a portrait of the total disassembly of just about all that had been previously known. It’s a grueling trek, with no real outs from the chaos —and on that note, The Lurch is generally quite quickly moving, on par with the speedy turns of grindcore.
At times, Yautja get grandiosely dramatic in their dynamically swinging performances, and in line with that facet of the album, there’s a sense of all-encompassing turmoil across this music.
The Lurch seems defined by intriguing rhythmic certainty — although “Undesirables” is partly slowed down, with extended, aching tension, and album closer “Before The Foal” starts on a similarly slower note before launching into an incinerating haze at its end, there’s never really a sense of hesitation on The Lurch. Yautja sound pretty much totally unmoored. Escape routes have been blown up and forgotten – now, the world quakes.
Musically, it’s striking and provides for an exhilarating listening experience, with consistent jolts of energy. “The Weight,” which Yautja released as a single, runs on particularly fierce riffing that sounds like a sputtering chainsaw suddenly exploding – and then exploding again and again, with barely any breathing room.
Across the album, that scouring musical vigor proves a relatively central focus – although there’s a ton of fascinating dynamic turns, Yautja never stray from their intensity. Listening through the mangled rhythms of The Lurch feels like fighting your way through an out-of-body experience while channeling some exhausting yet relentless power.
Purchase this album at this link.