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YAMANTAKA//SONIC TITAN at the Garrison, Friday, January 18. Rating: NNNN
I'm not exaggerating when I say that Yamantaka//Sonic Titan are one of the most exciting bands on the planet. Their music is a stunning balance of heavy and soft, aggression and fragility, conceptualism and emotionalism, experimental dissonance and pure harmony.
While songs from their masterful 2011 YT//ST album packed a punch at their sold-out Garrison show, it was the new ones that mesmerized. Many began as nebulous, hypnotic soundscapes or small, eerie ballads before growing into dramatic beasts that set Ruby Kato Attwood's gorgeous soprano against Alaska B's fierce drumming and Ange Loft's keening howls.
Plus, you can't take your eyes off of the six-piece Montreal/Toronto collective. In monochrome makeup and black garb, with their black hair swinging, they looked straight out of a Noh theatre production, in sync and focused. Visual flourishes came from Kato Attwood's Japanese fans and crown of white plastic straws (their homemade props, lighting and costumes deserve a mention), while Loft stomped around and shook the life out of some sleigh bells.
The guitar sound lacked definition, and the band clearly needs to move to a bigger room, but you heard no complaints from the impressed crowd as we squeezed ourselves through the exit and out into the night.