Album Review: YATRA — “All is Lost”

After successful tours in the US and Europe, as well as festival appearances with additional national and international shows scheduled, everything came to a sudden stop for doom/heavy metal sensation YATRA with the global pandemic.  That is when Dana Helmuth, founding member of the band, sat down and began writing All is Lost, their third and latest release.  While the general lyrical theme of the album is rather dark and heavy, artistically reflecting the band’s dismay with the current ways of the world, the album is very lively and energetic with intriguing vocal and musical variety.

The album opens strong with the title track breaking into tremolo picking guitar with bursts of drums before it rips into melodic guitar, laying the foundation for the song.  Finally, a furious drum roll leads to demonic growls by Helmuth as the meat of the song is splayed out.  The track feels more heavy metal than doom with some doom elements scattered about.  This combination of sounds and genres is the main style of YATRA and the beginning of the album shows listeners this right away with the first two tracks.

The third piece, “Tyrant Throne” introduces some passionate, yet harsh and raspy clean vocals that really drive and bring to life the lyrics “hold your ground, keep your torches burning; teach your children, to fear no evil” as if yelling out to a crowd in battle.  This repeating chorus is the only cleanly heard vocals in the track.  “Tyrant Throne” seems to mark a turning point in where the musicality starts to switch gears from a prominent heavy metal sound to a more psychedelic/doom/death crossbreed.  Things slow down just a bit with the following track “One for the Mountain” with psychedelic guitar and more clean vocals.

Next up is “Blissful Wizard” which might be my favorite on All is Lost.  The song serves as a little magical break in the album.  It begins with a vaguely atmospheric, ominous sitar introduction.  Yes—ominous sitar.  Who knew?  It is beautifully done and ultimately makes way for some killer riffs and steady drumming and harsh vocals.  Also featured is a brief but wonderful guitar solo.  I only wish the sitar came back into the mix or was also used elsewhere in the album.  That was an unexpected joy that added some extra uniqueness to the album.  Another unexpected moment of serenity is heard in the introduction of “‘Twas the Night.”  Here, acoustic guitar is thrown into the mix in this calm, atmospheric opening.

YATRA by Nichole Strouse

The remaining tracks bring back more elements from the beginning of the album, switching back to the heavy metal/subtle doom mix and brings the album full circle.  All is Lost features some unanticipated moments of peace with unique instrumentation between heavy riffs.  I am in awe of Helmuth who wrote the music and lyrics for the entire album in addition to performing the vocals and guitar.  YATRA is a talented trio of musicians and having Helmuth as their leading musician and founder makes them a force to be reckoned with.  The remaining members of the band are badass bassist Maria Geisbert and daring drummer Sean Lafferty who both have their talents shine through in this album.  All is Lost is dark, yet lively and heavy, yet chill.  It is an alluring combination of vibes, instrumentation, vocals and is well worth checking out. 

Angela


All is Lost is available now on Grimoire Records.  For more information on YATRA visit their Facebook page.

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