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Song debut: Yautja – “Denihilist”

For a type of guitar riff so convulsive and primal, there’s still a real art to the lurch. Make it too woozy, and you’re likely to lose your audience in the disorienting poppy field of the avant-garde, but play it a little too straight, and chances are you’ll just sound like you need to hit the practice space to iron out the hiccups. But if you can nail that sweet spot, just between a freight train with its brakes cut and a drunkard going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, the results can be explosively satisfying. Because after all, who wouldn’t want to hear a mosh riff that’s been kidnapped by the AmRep roster and fed a bunch of drugs?

Nashville’s Yautja, named after the aliens from the Predator series, have an almost preternatural grasp of the perfect lurch. This skill is on full display in this exclusive premiere of “Denihilist,” the second track from the band’s upcoming debut album, Songs of Descent. The song wastes no time in constructing a colossal riff of the sort that has allowed Gojira to somewhat improbably scale the heights of contemporary metaldom. Yautja’s glowering racket is of much more mongrel stock, as the band mix the tumbling urgency of hardcore with the frantic pelt of grindcore, and dredge speedy death metal licks through a bottom-heavy, corrosive sludge that recalls the halcyon swamps of the early ’00s.

“Denihilist”‘s live-wire crack snare and fill-heavy second half is more than a little reminiscent of Remission-era Mastodon, which all but fools will agree is never a bad thing. So, while Yautja’s sound is at times cozily familiar, it’s also compellingly recombinant. And, sweet baby Moses in a reed basket, when they hit one of those lurches, you might want to take care that your internal organs don’t just jump right through your skin. Only music with such a combination of smarts and tactile power can put your body in two places at once.

Get to the chopper with these tunes, brothers and sisters — these are praise songs for violent times. Songs of Descent comes out on February 11th.

— Dan Lawrence

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