Sludge metal has rarely sounded a visceral and delightfully disorienting as it does coming through the hands of YLVA.
Australia's YLVA issues its debut LP, META on Friday, 17 November via Translation Loss and Pelagic Records. Sludge has rarely sounded a visceral and delightfully disorienting as it does coming through the hands of this Melbourne-based collective. Though the sheer weight of the music is impressive, so too are the various moods the group strikes throughout. The closing “Widowed" asks us to imagine Pink Floyd practicing some spooky, post metal vibes. “Haunting Room" is an aptly name blast of might that stands among the best heard across the six-song collection.
What never gets lost along the way is the emotional impact of the music, the fact that YLVA doesn't want us just to listen and bob our head along. This is music that's also intended to make us feel. The 13-minute sludge epic “The Fall" takes us on a far-reaching emotional journey that resists cliché and is easily one of the best of its kind.
Guitarist/vocalist Mike Deslandes says that he didn't have to look too far for inspiration. “I lived in the heart of Melbourne when we started the band. There were a bunch of discussions about making the band sound like my front doorstep, ground zero of a city's depravity," he recalls. “I recently took my wife for a tour around a place in that city where I spent a lot of time; she said it looked like a prison which made me laugh."
The idea of recreating the place through music solidified through further exploration of Deslandes' personal experiences. Translating his rough ideas into art, however, proved a more difficult task than what he'd first anticipated. “Writing META was no quick process," he says. Almost an entire LP's worth of material was jettisoned after some soul-searching and exploration with alternate tunings on an acoustic guitar. “Some tracks took a while to present themselves but 'Metadata', 'Lapse' and 'The Fall' came naturally. The songs that took time were a great experience. It was us sharing what would and could be until we arrived at a place that was right for us. We found a common ground over wanting to explore new directions and we definitely stuck to the idea that less is generally more."
But YLVA is about bigger ideas too, though he warns of diving in only as far as the lyrics. “The physical response to YLVA is as much a part of any concept or direction," he offers. “Entering a new consciousness through music is an important thing I believe we all get, doesn't matter what genre or if it's physical or emotional but it's something we can't ignore. This is something we're lucky enough to feel and express as four individuals presenting our work."
YLVA is rounded out by guitarist/vocalist Dav Byrne, bassist Brett O'Riley and drummer Leigh Pengelly. Once more, META is available 17 November and may be ordered here.