ALBUM REVIEW: Yatra – All Is Lost

While All Is Lost (Grimoire Records) is the second album that Yatra has released in 2020, it is hardly a retread of its predecessor. The extreme elements that were merely blooming on Blood Of The Night are pushed to even further extents this time around. The drums have a much more aggressive presence with several busy fills on display while the fuzzy guitar and bass tones are much fuller. It never goes into full Blackened territory, but the more active Stoner-Sludge approach makes their High On Fire influence even more apparent.

Ironically enough, this heavier execution results in the band’s most dynamic release so far. With the guitar riffs often anchoring the songs and rarely venturing beyond a mid-tempo pace, the drum-fills and speedups usually end up being the mood indicator on a given track. The vocals are also a little more multi-faceted; while they seem to retreat even further into an animalistic snarl, there are pockets of haggard melody that occasionally poke through. 

The album’s runtime being ten minutes shorter than the two before it is also an interesting move. The more compact song structures risk undermining the atmosphere, especially since the pacing hasn’t changed too drastically, but there are pretty good songs at work.’Blissful Wizard’ and ‘Talons Of Eagles’ feature the most memorable riffs and vocal lines, the former serving up some strong atmosphere with its opening drone and descending riff pattern. The opening title track and ‘Twas The Night’ also stand out for showing the album’s full dynamic spectrum, the former starting things off in the most intense fashion and the latter taking the most subdued approach.

Such a swift turnaround could’ve made for a real rush job, but Yatra’s third album ends up being an even better development than the other album they released in 2020. The harsher vocals and more prominent drumming never clash with the band’s established mantric riffing approach. A few extra songwriting tweaks would have led to it surpassing Death Ritual as my preferred effort from them, but I can imagine this winning over listeners on its energy alone. I’ll be curious to see how Yatra develops in the future, but I hope they’ll get a chance to play this material live first.

 7 / 10

CHRIS LATTA