Yersin – The Scythe is Remorseless


Sunderland is not quite the post-industrial hellhole of nearby Middlesbrough, but it won’t win any prizes for England’s most picturesque small city. Yersin hail from the Wearside region and write music that feels as pleasant as a twelve-hour shift in the coal mines. Like Pig Destroyer, they don’t bother with a bass guitarist in the band. The guitar tone is dirtier than a smog-filled winter in Teesside at the turn of the twentieth century. If you’ve seen them live, you’ll know that they love their crusty death metal and grindcore as much as they enjoy a pie and a pint at the Saturday football.

Burning embers and out of tune pianos dance with gothic choirs in the first twenty-seven seconds of opener, ‘Triumphant’, before the d-beats and ringing power chords explode from the speakers with a menacing hardcore voice. You can shake your fist or slam to it, but you can’t tap your foot with a pint of lager in your hand. Here, the guitars brood like a father determined to exact vengeance on those that killed his children. Listen to the distortion from the amps – it’s more muffled than an offshore radio broadcast at sea. As a listener, it’s impressive how they use subtle choir harmonies to hollow out the dimensions to their bludgeoning.

The tight musicianship of this band is their secret weapon. You expect noise and imperfections of rhythm from a band that would rather die than drain the energy of their music with ProTools refinement. The drummer plays with the freedom of a timbre merchant in the Brazilian rainforests. A transition from sludge metal to violent Slayer beats and death metal tremolo rhythms shows the full range of Yersin’s record collection and their determination to avoid easy categorisation on ‘Mouths Like Open Graves’. On second listen, the opening guitar chords hiss like creatures awoken from their hibernation by human encroachment.

You don’t need a bassist when you use this type of heavy gain setting in your guitar rig. Hardcore and extreme metal unite in the title-track like an alliance of vigilantes from rival churches. There’s a creeping black metal influence in the anxiety of the guitar fills, yet Yersin have as much sludge in their sound as they do extreme metal. The riffs are like tidal waves decapitating a troop of skyscrapers. You can swing your head to the scything chugs of the guitar in the outro. This is what naval warfare sounds like when destroyers collide.

London hardcore/death unit, Burner, are the new standard in this type of music, and they thicken their guitar hooks with more meat than Yersin. That’s because the Sunderland natives want their crust punk roots to remain a key part of their sound, hence the mischievous, ‘Lust for Crust’. The best way to view this effort is to imagine a modern incarnation of Morbid Tales by Celtic Frost with the added might of hardcore microphone roars. Clearly, Yersin are a band after the heart of the Napalm Death fanbase. How can a trio produce something so violent?

Of course, you won’t find any subtleties here. There’s no need to guess that ‘Red Mist’ will be another torrent of murderous rage. The tunings are lower than a child murderer’s place in the prison hierarchy. A muddy breakdown riff at 02:35 ends the song in style even if you feel like the effect will suck the skin off your bones. Yersin’s disdain for melody is as strong as their antipathy for rock & roll showmanship. The guitarist leans into his one-finger power chords like a man wrestling with a drone controller to see it through enemy territory in closing track, ‘Doom’.

They have no time for trends or engagement with the overly sensitive Gen Z kids of today. Yersin write unsentimental music and lavish spoons of harsh medicine to those that need them.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 10/01/2024

Record Label: Trepanation Recordings

Standout tracks: Triumphant, The Scythe is Remorseless, Red Mist

Suggested Further Listening: Burner – A Vision of the End EP (2022), Napalm Death – Enemy of the Music Business (2000), Mental Cavity – Mass Rebel Infest (2021)