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Review: Xysma - Yeah

Label: ComeBack Records
Year released: 2020
Originally released in: 1991
Duration: 32:15
Tracks: 12
Genre: Death/Grind


Review online: August 2, 2021
Reviewed by: Luxi Lahtinen
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Rated 5/5 (100%) (10 Votes)

I talk a lot about the old Finnish Death Metal scene, mostly because I was there to witness it in all its vile glory, so that probably makes me the best person on the site to review one of the crucial cornerstones of the movement. Practically every Finnish Death Metal band worth talking about has taken influence from Xysma, who started out as the angry little brother of Carcass on their old demos. They quickly got tired of that, though, and so they struck out into new territory with their debut full-length Yeah, which stands as one of the most artistically defiant albums to ever come out of Finland, along with one of the very best.

Many consider this release to be the very first Death N Roll album ever made, and I would agree without reservation. With their debut, Xysma took their raging Grindcore and Death Metal beginnings and boldly tossed in '70s Progressive Rock to make a unique sound that defied basic convention or even common sense to make something wholly unique. Hell, even today it's hard to find anything quite like it, as it's so densely layered and wildly artistic that, even revisiting it decades later, it feels like I'm listening to it for the very first time. Tracks like "Why Am I I?", "On the Hills of Desecration" and "Aspirations: a. Reflections of Eternity / Aspirations: b. First Sunbeams of the New Beginning" contain a fuck ton of unorthodox elements while still grounding themselves in Death Metal, and when given the kind of first-rate production that only Tomas Skogsberg of Sunlight Studios could give, they all stand out as strange, groovy masterworks that clearly inspired everything from Disgrace's Grey Misery to Entombed's Wolverine Blues.

Xysma would continue to experiment with their sound for the rest of their career, going well beyond the bounds of Metal by the end of it (their last album, Girl on the Beach, is a pop album, of all things), but nothing would ever come close to the brilliance of Yeah. As a historical landmark its impact is incalculable, as an audacious experiment that flies in the face of Death Metal norms it stands alone, and as a Finnish Death Metal album it still stands as among the very best ever made, and from the band that basically started the movement themselves, that's nothing short of incredible. Magnificent.

More about Xysma...
Review: Above the Mind of Morbidity (reviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Review: First & Magical (reviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Review: Swarming of the Maggots (reviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with vocalist Janitor Muurinen and guitarist Olli Nurminen on July 23, 2023 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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