Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, Electric Hawk, Cleric | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, Electric Hawk, Cleric 

When: Tue., Nov. 5, 9 p.m. 2013
Price: $8
Canadian art-rock outfit Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, founded in 2008, has the kind of dramatic flair you’d expect from a group that grew out of a mini opera. Its “Noh-wave” style, which combines prog, metal, psych, noise, punk, and Japanese Noh theater (band members also wear white makeup inspired by Noh), moves with a heavy, tidal fluidity, smoothly contorting itself to accommodate all of its influences. Yamantaka//Sonic Titan’s two albums, a 2011 self-titled LP and the new Uzu (Suicide Squeeze), sometimes feel like long-form compositions—an impression strengthened by the frequent absence of pauses between songs, so that one track simply flows into the next. Both records have overarching narratives, but in Uzu the story’s grip on the music is weaker, which helps its tunes retain their outre stoner-rock power even wrenched from their context—the gnarly guitar riffs, chiming cymbals, and tribal chanting of “One,” for instance, could fuel a roadside desert bonfire that lasts till dawn. Its sinister lyrics sometimes seem to be riffing on West Side Story (“Ever wonder what it’s like to die in America”), and like a musical, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan is designed to be seen onstage, in all its whimsically theatrical glory. —Leor Galil Electric Hawk and Cleric open.

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