Los Angeles based Yeghikian is perhaps one of the hardest bands to categorize. Is it stoner rock? Hard rock? Heavy metal? Who knows … may be a bit of everything. But one thing we do know is this band exudes exemplary songwriting skills. Very rarely would you come across such instantly catchy songs that retain the groove, speed and heaviness to present commercial appeal yet garner musical credibility in equal measure. Although having had a song featured on the popular TV show ‘American Dad’, Yeghikian remains one of Los Angeles music scene’s best kept secrets. Well, it shouldn’t be a secret, and if the band’s recently released and cleverly titled debut full-length album ‘The Greatest Hits’ is anything to go by, they should be a household name instead. Yes, really.
Although a very modern album in more ways than one, ‘The Greatest Hits’ throws a salute to an old-fashioned quality, with just 8 tracks and a total duration of less than 30 minutes. That is exactly how albums were made 3-4 decades ago, geared towards listeners who had the inclination to listen to the entire album as one piece, not just singles. Those are the albums that stood the test of time, and if this Yeghikian album is still relevant 30 years from today, its easily palatable duration would certainly have a lot to do with it. In this day and age of ultra-short attention spans, it makes zero sense to release long albums of filler material, which many bands surprisingly still continue to do. Thankfully, Yeghikian does not, and living up to its title, ‘The Greatest Hits’ is all-killer, no-filler from start to finish.
As soon as the opening track ‘The World is Spinning’ kicks in, the uniqueness of this band and album is evident straightaway. Vocalist/guitarist/principal songwriter Alexy Yeghikian lays down a singing style that’s not really heard at all in hard rock / heavy metal, but it still makes complete sense when interwoven with stoner-rock-esque riffs and hard rock rhythmic grooves. A majority of metalheads may not even be receptive to this kind of singing, but if you’re able to appreciate it, Yeghikian will become your favorite band very quickly. The groovy opening song is followed by the even stronger composition ‘Until the End’. This one has head-bang-worthy moments galore, and is one of the heavier tunes on the record. In contrast, the boogie element is dominant in ‘Find a Way’, a song that will compel you to put your dancing shoes on. Next, ‘The Witch’ is an absolute shredfest in all its layers as the song truly goes to eleven .. and then we arrive at ‘Thunderstealer’, arguably the greatest of these greatest hits. This slow banger is really the complete package and showcases all of Yeghikian’s sonic traits, leaving a long-lasting impact in the process.
The album treats you with three more stellar tunes, the high-energy ‘The Great Big Fall’, the psych-heavy ‘Hawkwind’, and ‘Alone in a Cave’ which brings ‘The Greatest Hits’ to a close at breakneck speed, only leaving you wanting more and pressing Play all over again.
The songwriting is, as already mentioned, quite incredible, head and shoulders above and beyond what most hard rock and metal musicians are able to deliver, and the sole reason is because the focus is clearly on the melody. The vocal delivery is stunning, and all the performances on guitar, bass and drums are mighty fine. What’s more, the production is not overly clean or poppy because it didn’t need to be, as the music already has those qualities. The pristineness of the vocals is retained and amplified, as is the heaviness of the guitars and the crispness of the rhythm section. In short, ‘The Greatest Hits’ has been produced just about exactly how it needed to be.
All in all, a gem of a band has delivered a masterpiece of an album that every single fan of heavy music needs to get acquainted with. Proceed with caution, because Yeghikian’s greatest hits will cast an unbreakable spell on you.
– by Andrew Bansal
Record Label: Urban Yeti
1. The World is Spinning (5:10)
2. Until the End (3:27)
3. Find a Way (3:11)
4. The Witch (3:02)
5. Thunderstealer (3:51)
6. The Great Big Fall (2:58)
7. Hawkwind (3:43)
8. Alone in a Cave (3:10)
Total Duration: 28:32