By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(Jan. 24, 2019) Dana Helmuth and his band, Yatra, released their first album, “Death Ritual,” in late December, featuring heavy rock and metal music, and it has already received rave reviews.
Helmuth, the owner of Clearlight Studio in Berlin and a longtime Worcester County resident, has always been a fan of metal music. As a former member of another Maryland metal band, singing is nothing new for Helmuth.
“I’ve had a lot of different bands,” Helmuth said. “This one was the continuation of another former band called Blood Raven. [It] broke up and [I] restarted it with a different name and two new people.”
The name, Yatra, comes from the Hindi word for journey. Helmuth first heard the word and its meaning during a trip to Nepal.
“Someone told me I was on a yatra, and I learned what the word meant, and I just thought, ‘Wow, that would be a great band name,’” Helmuth said.
The band’s debut album includes eight songs and is around 45 minutes long, with slow openings that lead to heavy guitar riffs and guttural vocals.
“There’s a certain existential quality to some of the lyrics and some of the journeyer parts that has some psychedelic aspects of it in some parts, and some parts of it are straight metal and stoner metal, doom metal, [and] I like a lot of older Norwegian black metal like Dark Throne and Burzum.”
Helmuth credits other musical influences to classic metal bands such as Black Sabbath, but also to some newer groups such as Sleep, High on Fire, Church Burn, and Yob.
The album has already received critical acclaim from notable metal magazines including Revolver, which placed Yatra’s song “Black Moon” on its list for the top six songs to hear.
“It’s done really well,” Helmuth said. “We’ve gotten some really good press writeups. Revolver magazine put us in the top six songs to listen to and we’re like, ‘Where did we come from? Where did that come from?’ and then Decibel magazine did a thing on us. It’s going really well. It was very nice to get mentions.”
“Death Ritual” is available on CD for $10, vinyl for $20 or online at Spotify, iTunes, or the band’s website.
Yatra will perform at Trader Lees in West Ocean City on Saturday, March 2, at 9 p.m., with three other bands from New York and Baltimore.
After the event, the band will go on a two-week tour beginning in St. Louis, Missouri, to Texas for the Southwest Festival, then back up the East Coast, playing around 15 shows.
“It’s the best thing ever,” Helmuth said.
For more information about Yatra, visit www.yatradoom.bandcamp.com, or go to Yatra Doom on Facebook.