Cruelty and The Beat – Yyrkoon Occult Medicine

 yyrkoon image

Trampled, Scratched and Covered in Cobwebs but Still it Spins





Occult Medicine


Osmose Recordings 2004



Track Listing:




Doctor X


Censored Project




Occult Medicine


Revenant Horde


Reversed World


Trapped into Life


Surgical Distortion


Schyzophrenic Carnage


Erase the Past



Yyrkoon…Quite a strange name, even in the world of Metal monikers!



I’ve certainly never heard of it before, so with the aid of my trusty (actually the opposite) internet I shall dig deep, quell my curiosity and find its meaning. Alright! That didn’t take long. So apparently any fan’s of Michael Moorcock’s fantasy writing would know, but I’m still none the wiser, anyhow,…onwards.



It’s been a while since I’ve last heard this one. I’ll be the first to admit that it wasn’t a long visit, more of a brief “Hello” really. Before purchasing this I can remember being excited for there was quite the buzz on the internet, various metal websites and individuals raving about the newest BIG band from…well, I choose not to remember, because honestly, I wasn’t impressed!


I shall soldier on though (and take one for the team {}) and endure another listen.



The cover is drab and colorless. Dark greys and highlighting white showcase a straight jacketed individual, at first glance you may, as I did, for only a split second see “Eddy” ala “Piece of Mind” album cover (Iron Maiden!) This unlucky chap appears to have much the same pose though in a slightly bleaker setting.  That sounds probable, but then that’s the thing with art you can see in it as you choose, and that’s what makes it all the more interesting.



The album’s packaging contains several pieces of outstanding artwork, the back cover illustration looks like something pulled from an eighteenth century medical textbook with the song titles (and font) worked in tastefully. Artwork courtesy of Nonos and Paillettes.



The first track has indecipherable whispers over a strange myriad of noises accompanied by a slight drumbeat. A nice short (only sixteen seconds) introduction invoking images of sterile madness, I am briefly reminded of an instrumental on an early Napalm Death album that invokes quite the same imagery though seems to last forever. (My head’s spinning for a title, I’m at a loss, dammit!)



Track two carries on effectively from the short opening starting with a heavy drum battery and guitar riff barrage. The first we hear of the vocalist, Steph, (Funfact; also a guitarist) appears to come out of the shadows. What strikes me straight away is the quality of production and mix. You can decipher all of the instruments clearly and the vocals do not drown out the melodies, either in guitars or drums. Both string and drumwork are impressive and combine for intricate melodies and remarkable solos.




The heavily accented vocals compliment the music and are somewhat understandable, I would go out on a limb and say they seem more darkened thrash in style than the more traditional throated grunt and growl of “death”. An impressive opening track which makes me wonder why my initial visit was so short lived. If this track is any indication of the remainder of the album I am in for the long haul.



Track three, “Censored Project” begins with a progressive beat that turns into a “Witchery” like riff (Hey! I’ve been there before!) A solo towards the end of the track brings to mind “Arch Enemy”, though overall I would say this track would fit in nicely on an older Witchery album. Not a bad thing at all!



“Blasphemy”, is the first to truly grab my attention. Choppy riffs are the order of the day, and is it really no wonder that at the 1:00 mark there’s a solo reminiscient of Morbid Angel after all, just look at the song name! Fantastic solos throughout. A true stand out.



“Occult Medicine” is the longest track on the album, it starts with perhaps one of the finest introductions I’ve heard to any song, be it metal or otherwise. Classical orchestrated stylings around what I would presume to be the beeping of a heart monitor. Perhaps signifying the struggle for life upon a deathbed. Choppy riffs in this song remind me of a Meshuggah style of metal. I’ll even hasten to say a solo at the 5:10 mark brings to mind Megadeth but it really has been a long while since I’ve listened to them. There really is no question as to why this is the title track, its plainly obvious in fact!



Although for the record I will state there seems to be a shade of experimentation in the vocals used in “Reversed World”. At times a little traditional singing, I’m not entirely sure it fits in, though I’ll see past it because the track is not at all bad.



This is quite the outstanding album. It’s chock full of rifftastic melodies and exquisite solos both fans of Carcass and Arch Enemy would be pleased with.



Apart from the second and third song I would state no two tracks sound alike, theres enough movement and rhythm changes to keep one interested enough to want another spin, and another. In fact if it wasn’t so late I’d clear the furniture, ensure the blinds are closed, and shed my (Wait wha-!) I digress, that’s enough about my peculiar hobbies. Suffice it to say you need this album, and I need to pay more attention to bands with strange names that come out of France.



That’s what I said…France.



I’ll try not to think about what they might be spiking croissants with and rather enjoy this spinning treat in my CD player. I highly recommend that you do the same. Regardless of whether you prefer death, thrash or prog, give this album a shot you won’t be dissapointed. It has the Cult stamp of “Mosh Approval”!



Nine blistering baguette free solos out of ten and I’ve exhausted my white -flag-waving-nation puns for today.





Signing out



Note worthy of mentioning: Yyrkoon has since split (2007) leaving behind four full length releases as a legacy.


1998 Oniric Transition


2002 Dying Sun


2004 Occult Medicine


2006 Unhealthy Opera