In 2014, we brought you a feature highlighting what would be the finest album the year had to offer: Freudian Slip. Since then, Yüth Forever–then Villains–have been through a lot as a band: changing their name, changing some members and seeing the U.S. and Canada with some of heavy music’s biggest names. All the while, they slaved behind the scenes to craft Skeleton Youth Forever–a towering testament to emotion, energy and awe-inspiring aggression. If you want to see and hear more about what the band have been up to–and of course, what awaits you in their forthcoming album, see the interview below (brought to you by Chugcore) and read our full review!
Artist: Yüth Forever
Album: Skeleton Youth Forever
So much of mankind’s focus revolves around such an innocent concept. Countless scientific breakthroughs—some novel and some profound—were struck chasing youth. There are more creams and ointments to erase traces of old age from our bodies than there are stars in the sky—we have spent countless dollars and hours marketing it. Before science there were fables written about everlasting youth—be it a cure from a fountain or elixir. Youth is the apex of our “golden years,” and the source of nostalgia.
But it fades, and there’s no stopping it.
From the first time you see a violent TV show to the “birds and bees” talk with your parents, youth is slowly withdrawn from our skin and our spirit. And while we associate the best times of our lives with youth, lurking within those years are also sources of great sorrow—heartbreak, loss, loneliness—and Illinois-based set-proclaimed “noisy street metal” act Yüth Forever touch on it all. Their sophomore full-length album, Skeleton Youth Forever is the good and the bad—it is growth and maturation, yet angsty, lonely pining for the past. It is horrendously heavy yet subtle and profound—groovy but gut-wrenchingly passionate. It is the strongest release yet by an incredibly talented band; it is for the youth, by the Yüth.
While Yüth Forever have gone by the “noisy street metal” moniker for some time, Skeleton Youth Forever is the first release that sees them truly embracing it. Simply put, the instrumentation onYüth Forever’s sophomore LP is unlike anything the heavy music community has seen to date. Those expecting the band’s musical pendulum to swing back towards the more straightforward 10 Code have another thing coming—as Skeleton Youth Forever continues along the path set by Freudian Slip, going even deeper down the rabbit hole—but not without some sense of nostalgia. In a strong sense, the musicianship throughout the album is a representation of youth itself, as it is an album defined by instrumental extremes. Where percussionist Zach Kochetta is intense, he is truly unstoppable. Whether it’s the introduction to the relentless “People Pleaser” or the climax to the closing number, “Forever,” Kochetta is powering at full steam with every cylinder firing, dominating with flashy fills and fleet footwork. Meanwhile, “(warmth)” sees very little of Kochetta at all, just as portions of “Growing Pains” and “SYF” see him ditching almost chaotic hardcore percussive stylings to adopt distinctly funky atmosphere—where bassist Eric Starks bravely follows. Starks is never satisfied with simply following Kochetta’s spastic kick drum; rather, he works around it, adding a dynamic and groovy low-end to even the most simple segments of Skeleton Youth Forever. His bouncy lead-in to “Bitterromantic Pt. III” is one such example, as is his quick, snappy work at the House of Pain-esque ending to “SYF.” However brilliant Starks’ work with the low-end may be, there is little questioning that the main source of Yüth Forever’s instrumental appeal is found at the fingers of guitarists Reese Jubic and Trevor Grove. Together, the two embody “noisy street metal,” using a plethora of unorthodox techniques, song structures and effects to keep the listener constantly on their toes. Whether it’s the jaw-dropping end to “Villains,” the eerie riff that appears in “(warmth)” or the haunting-but-heartwarming melodic overlay to the closing breakdown in “Forever,” the duo are absolutely on point throughout the duration of Skeleton Youth Forever, brilliantly combining brutality, beauty and a little bit of funk to create a thoroughly unique experience.
If Skeleton Youth Forever is a figurative yearbook, emulating highlights and extremes from a youthful past, the musicianship is without a doubt the paper, spine and binding of the book—but the vocals and lyrics are the photos themselves. Frontman and songwriter Devin MacGillivray is, to be brief, the best writer and voice of his kind. MacGillivray pours himself into every one of Skeleton Youth Forever’s thirteen tracks, giving each a distinct and unique feeling. Beginning with the insane introduction, “Suicide Pistol Grip Pump,” MacGillivray’s delivery is brash and unrestricted, putting blood and spittle into every syllable he roars. Songs like “People Pleaser,” “SYF” and “Villains” see him at his most aggressive, taking swings at the listener’s sanity with a twenty-pound sledgehammer—while “Suicide Pistol Grip Pump” sounds almost as if he’s screaming over a Vince Staples song. However powerful MacGillivray’s work is over “full” songs like the aforementioned, he is at his most lethal on tracks like “Do You?,” “(love),” “(warmth)” and “(innocence).” Here, there is no (or almost no, in the case of “(warmth)”) band to distract the listener—just a minimal beat and MacGillivray’s raw, emotional lyrics. Those who identified strongly with “Bitterromantic Pt. II” and “Freudian Slip” (let’s be honest, who didn’t?) will no doubt find themselves lost in “(innocence),” where MacGillivray explores his own feeling of maturation and growth, losing naivety in the process. Tracks like these will see MacGillivray’s syllables echoing down to the deepest pits of their souls, draining their sanity away like a siphon, leaving their spirits in shambles.
Drawing from hip-hop influence in “Suicide Pistol Grip Pump” and the end of “SYF,” through the Alphaville “forever young” reference in “Inseperable” and all the way to the haunting ending to “Forever,” Skeleton Youth Forever embodies what it is to be young. It’s ferocious grooves and manic lyrics are the adolescent angst stemming from heartbreak and loss. It’s mellow, heart-rending interludes are the nostalgic reflections on better days. It sees Yüth Forever putting the “Villains” name to a much-deserved rest, and it sees MacGillivray exploring his own feelings about growing older. It is discovering new things—like the Freudian Slip and 10 Code references tucked inside each song—even after more than seventy listens.It is introspection and intense emotion, both the highs and lows of young adulthood’s mood swings. Most importantly, it sees that the band’s acclaimed Freudian Slip was not a one-off masterpiece. Yüth Forever prove that not only can they capture emotion and energy, but they can retain it and expand on it—giving the heavy music community an immaculate listening experience that will truly last forever.
For Fans Of: Barrier, Darke Complex, Lordis, Soulkeeper, Sworn In
By: Connor Welsh