Hailing from Minsk, Belarus, virtuoso quintet Out of Yesteryear have been producing music since their inception in 2007. Their debut self-titled EP, released in 2007, and its follow-up, the markedly more impressive The Blackness, carved out a solid foothold in a genre permeated with an impressively bland number of mediocre symphonic deathcore bands. However, I came to know the band much more recently, after stumbling onto their brand new single, Paranoid Disgust, back in November of last year. The song amazed me. The playing abilities of the band, the maturity of the writing, and the infallible production value left me eagerly awaiting their next studio effort. Building up to the release of this year’s record, the band released a wonderfully produced music video for the second single, The Pig King, from the upcoming record. The clip effectively reinforced my anticipation.
But, were my expectations met with release of Mass on Monday? Quite frankly, no. Out of Yesteryear utterly shattered them. Opening the record with Paranoid Disgust, the song’s sweep picked main riff expertly sets the scene for what follows.
The next eight tracks display a writing ability vastly unparalleled. The band’s expert blend of volatile speed, crushing grooves, and virtuoso fretboard pyrotechnics craft a sound unique among its peers. With a combination of Behemoth-esque chord progressions and an All Shall Perish approach to the deathcore genre, the album proved highly entertaining throughout.
The guitarwork on this album, however, is nothing short of phenomenal. Guitarists Roman Popko and Vadim Valeshko have crafted something truly wonderful in these nine tracks. The riffs themselves are huge. Technical, melodic, and abusively heavy, the rhythm guitar tracks prove to be some of the most innovative and original laid down in a rapidly decaying genre. While I was expecting a fair bit of sweep picking and a few more complicated alternate picking runs here and there, I never expected this. All but the album’s third track, groover Tyrants of Slaves, display some truly ridiculous leadwork. Frantic alternate runs and speedy legato sweeps rule this record where the higher frets are concerned, but it never seems too excessive or too intrusive to the sound. The solos complement the raw, angry atmosphere with exemplary style, particularly on tracks such as Call of Sin and Blood Like Mercury.
The percussion, provided by blast machine Denis Poluyan, remains intensive and focussed throughout the record. Intricate blast beat drumming and grooving stop-start footwork match the riffs perfectly. The snare tone captured here is truly excellent, and the overall drum production is fantastically well balanced, the perfect middle ground between thud and click. The bass on this album is also hugely entertaining. While maintaining a steady presence throughout the more intensive rhythm sections, where the album slows down into more dissonant breathers, we are treated to some interesting bass licks, such as on The Primal Silence, courtesy of bassist Egor Savchenko, adding that little touch of traditional tech death to the churning maelstrom of modern technical deathcore disciplines.
Vocally, this album is just angry. So very, very angry. From the huge lows to visceral highs, vocalist Artem Rabtsevich amazes with an incredibly fitting performance, accenting the band’s signature grooves and speedy blasting sections with a very convincing multitracked performance. The production value for this release, however, is ridiculously high. The mixing work is truly expert. The guitar tone captured perfectly slots into the mix, with the low notes retaining a slightly djenty twang to them in order to allow the drums to remain audible in lower register riffs.
While I was expecting a solid release from Out of Yesteryear, I really wasn’t expecting this. Mass is a truly wonderful collection of some of the most mature and well constructed musical ideas heard among its peers. While it is certainly a departure from the band’s previous symphonic stylings, the change in sound is a very welcome one, considering just how unbelievably heavy the new direction proves. – Henry
Mass is streaming in its entirety for free and is available for purchase from the band’s Bandcamp page.