Yoga has become quite the fad in recent years. It seems like there’s a new joint popping up every other week. Each pushing a new style, better accommodations, and better results. The only thing that has even remotely piqued my interest is the free beer administered at the local brewery at the completion of their Sunday yoga sessions. But it turns out, there is a yoga course for people just like me. Black Yo)))ga is a vinyasa-styled center in Pennsylvania that focuses their sessions around metal music, rather than the traditional yoga/tree-hugger noise. Wanting to produce their own mix, the husband-wife team hired some musicians to create their own soundtrack. The result is Asanas Ritual, Vol. 1; dark, instrumental meditation music crafted for that yoga-loving metal-head through a delivery of black, doom, stoner, drone, and avante garde atmospheres. No, I’m not joking. I have to admit that, at first, I found this absolutely absurd. But Black Yo)))ga is serious in their mission to design an auditorial median that speaks to those extremist clientele that may be too frightened to face their addictions, depressions, vices, and angers with a standard chain-gym yoga experience. Though this may represent a TYMHM piece that isn’t exactly 3.5+ material, it conveys such passion from its creators that I felt it needed a shoutout. For many, this atmospheric and emotional soundscape may provide the perfect background music, while others may find Asanas Ritual, Vol. 1 to be a little bit more.
Overall, the songwriting of Asanas Ritual, Vol. 1 isn’t astounding, but it has a deep atmosphere that actually works. Once absorbed, it becomes a series of chapters that unlock your deepest frustrations with the modern world (or maybe that’s the 9% ABV IPA I just downed following an hour-long session of perspiration and dehydration). In general, there are no standout “tracks” on this album. Instead, it’s one continuous theme meant to drag you deep within yourself and – honestly – persuade your troubled soul to let everything fucking go. Asanas‘ combination of haunting rhythms, feedback guitars, droning downbeats, ominous bass plods, muscle-relaxing cello and violin segments, and haunting female swoonings meld this eight-track release into a blackened spearhead that rips through self-doubt and allows hope to shine. Asanas is a gradual build from the opening chords of “A Wandering Through” to the final fade out of “Loopholes in the Universe.” It viciously crescendos with the droning harshness of “Negative Confession” before the angelic female drones of “Lament” drag the album into a million-gear downshift to Asanas‘ conclusion.
Asanas Ritual, Vol. 1 is both captivating and spiritual even if Black Yo)))ga‘s debut isn’t exactly stellar material. However, the concept is quite unique and it appears to be reaching many a metal-folk longing for a connection to the yoga world and its sweaty, ass-shaping attire. The production is quite impressive and its DR8 rating gives life to your personal Black Yo)))ga sessions via their session DVD (purchasable through the Black Yo)))ga website). If you’re into this sort of thing (or not), Asanas is definitely worth a listen. If it results in respect or uncontrollable laughter is based solely on the listener’s interpretation. I will leave you, dear reader, to be the judge.
Tracks to check: Ummm… all of them?