Bruce Lamont – Feral Songs for the Epic Decline

Posted on April 30, 2011


At A Loss


What is it about Chicago that breeds unappreciated metal talent? Blake Judd of Nachtmystium and owner of Battle Kommand Records. Chris Black of Dawnbringer, Pharaoh and former collaborator in Judd’ black metal act. And then there’s our subject, Bruce Lamont: saxophonist, singer and general avant-garde enthusiast currently fronting Windy City post-metal quintet Yakuza, experimental collective Bloodiest and an exceptionally good Led Zeppelin cover band dubbed Led Zeppelin 2. But there’s a reason you probably didn’t know he performs as a solo act as well. Lamont’s debut under his own name falls prey to just about every shortcoming that other metal dudes striking it on their own have encountered since what seems like the dawn of time.

You’d think we would have learned after James LaBrie and Bruce Dickinson struck out on their own. Hell, even the recent effort by Immortal lyricist/former guitarist Demonaz fell short of his main act’s diabolical fullmoon mysticism. 90% of the time it’s the shit the frontman’s real band doesn’t want anywhere near their material, and as Feral Songs for the Epic Decline shows, there was a hell of a lot of fat to trim on that last Yakuza LP (2010’s stunning, hypnotic Of Seismic Consequence). Why do we keep falling for this time after time, like a sorority girl who’s batted her way down the douchebag roster just hoping she’ll find that special guy who will make her a trophy wife without beating the hell out of her. I should have known from the very beginning, facing the 12 minutes of jangly guitar strumming and quasi-bluesy lamentations that comprise “One Who Stands on the Earth.” But I didn’t heed the warning. I kept digging deeper, and Mr. Lamont continued his tedious one-man show. What compels these perfectly adept musicians to slap their names on an album and proceed with the mindless self-indulgence? Maybe it cleans the cobwebs out of their skulls so they come back to their other projects with coherent ideas. If so, Yakuza’s next full-length will certainly benefit from the absence of the going-nowhere-fast drone found on “The Epic Decline” or the skronky sax wank stmbling clumsily through “Disgruntled Employer.” For now, let this be yet another black eye on every fan who haplessly picks up a record simply because it bears the name of his favorite musician.

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