Yatra is special to me in that their debut album Death Ritual was the first new album I listened to in 2019. While their latest album doesn’t hold the same honor for 2020, I’m still impressed at how quickly the Maryland stoner doom trio were able to churn out another release. Yatra’s second album Blood of the Night comes just barely a year after their debut.
The quick turnaround isn’t the only impressive thing about this album. The band has seriously upped their production game. I absolutely love how this album sounds. The guitar and bass tones, while great on the last album, sound flawless here. There’s so much fuzz on Blood of the Night, but it never sounds muddy. In fact, the drums and vocals cut through super clearly. From the bubbling fuzz of the bass at the start of “The Sorcerer” to the explosive close of “Surrender”, you know you’re in for a sonic treat.
The performances on this album live up to the tone and production too. The guitar riffs use the perfect amount of bends and slides accent the right moments. Guitarist/singer Dana Helmuth isn’t afraid to double up on riffs, which sounds great on songs like “The Howling” and “Blood Will Flow”. Bassist Maria Geisbert has deft sense for when to double riffs and when to provide counterpoint. Instrumentally the best performance goes to drummer Sean Lafferty. He plays with so much swing and stomp, and those fills man, those fills! What makes Yatra truly stand out from the stoner doom pack though is Helmuth’s vocals. He has this black metal snarl that just sounds plain evil. He’s definitely upped his chops since the last album. The trio has a lot going for them.
Unfortunately, this album is very repetitive. Very. Most songs are centered around one riff, with one or two other riffs coming in for bridges and transitions. The band does thrown in some tempo changes, but even those become predictable. Some of the lyrics even get repetitive, like in “Carrion”. Some riffs are too generic to warrant constant replay. “Burning Vision” just sounds like Sabbath worship. When the riffs are good, like in “The Howling” or “After the Ravens”, the band sounds like they could be stoner doom royalty, but too many songs on Blood of the Night are just forgettable.
While I’m a little disappointed with this album, I still think Yatra has a ton of potential. They can definitely leave their amp settings as is for the next record, but maybe come into the studio with a few more riffs.
Best Tracks: Sorcerer, After the Ravens, The Howling
Weakest Tracks: Burning Vision, Surrender
FFO: High On Fire, Sleep, Konvent
Overall Score: C+