Yyrkoon - Unhealthy Opera - Osmose Productions / The End Records  2006
12 Songs (+1 Ltd Ed. Bonus Track)
Running Time: 48:36

The voice intoning that well-known Lovecraftian couplet "That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die." sets up this tale of descent into the Cthulhu mythos, just before the title track submerges you in molten thrash ala mid-'90s Testament. Part of the beauty of Yyrkoon lies in their ability to take extremely technical music, and combine it with a groove that grabs and holds like oversize tentacles, as in "From The Depths". Truly, much of Unhealthy Opera sticks in the mind even after first listen, which is a rarity these days, and a testament to the originality of Yyrkoon. Unhealthy Opera has a noticeably weighty low end, adding to the lip-curling menace of the vocal delivery, and making the fluid leadwork stand out just that much more. The riff begun at 2:30 is sure to cause fists and voices to be thrust high in the air, and reappears before song's end, just to add to the memorability of "Avatar Ceremony". New live set standard? I'm betting so. The watery instrumental of "Temple Of Infinity" flows atop a tide of oceanic sound effects into the demonic fury of "Abonormal Intrusion". Here, and in the next song, "Screaming Shores", the guitars of Stef and Geoffrey wield a crunch and soar reminiscent of Dimebag Darrell, catapulting Yyrkoon into the present-day metal age for the album's middle section. Mention must be made of Soilwork skinsman, Dirk's contribution to Unhealthy Opera. His drumwork here is much more overtly Heavy (note capital H) than his attack in his main band, giving him the opportunity to let loose from the more modern constraints of Soilwork. "The Book" is easily the most oldschool of the songs to be found here, and "Horror From The Sea" hurls another mythos phrase - "...Cthulhu waits dreaming." - amid thunderous riff and tumultuous rhythms. Acoustic fingerpicking in "Lair..." adds a shift in the dynamics of Yyrkoon, and gives the album a much more varied colour, only to be swept aside by the tidal wave crush of "...Of Madness". Guttural death intonations punch holes through the Kataklysmic finale of "Injecting Dementia", returning the listener to the world of the undreaming, water in their ears and fear in their hearts.

Easily Yyrkoon's most cohesive work to date, it's refreshing that instead of merely rehashing Lovecraft's The Call Of Cthulhu, Stefan and the band worked out their own version of the mythos, which is what keeps the fantasy (?) growing, and makes the horror come alive. Conversely, by doing so, the band is poised to ascend to the next level, and is deserving of any success Unhealthy Opera may bring.


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