Wielders of heavy, frantic sludge and metal, Year Of The Coyote have been doing so for several years. Releasing a demo in late 2014, the three-piece—featuring Matt Hagan on guitar and vocals, “Cookie” or John Fulwyler on bass, and Travis Wisner on drums—are now set to follow it up with their debut album Siege. All tracks were recorded and engineered by Mike Vera at Brown Sound and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege.
On first listen to “Plateau,” many folks will likely want to fasten their seat belts for safety but then unbuckle hastily just so they can flail their bodies around unhampered. Siege is the trio’s first full-length and is filled with syncopated hardcore hooks and righteously seething vocals from start to finish.
“I’d say with confidence that ‘Plateau’ is one of our favorites,” Hagan says. “More often than not, the three of us are always pretty winded after we play it, but when we nail it, I, at least, have a shit-eating grin on my face.”
In the case of YOTC, part of the hard work they distill into their music includes a healthy dose of calisthenics. “I get the full catharsis of playing heavy music when I feel spent afterward, and ‘Plateau’ embodies that for me. I'd like to think it does for the three of us," Hagan says. “It's got everything I love playing: sludge, driving riffs, blasts beats, crusty bass rhythms, noise... the whole gamut of what I aspire to do in playing heavy music. I think it's a song that's a good picture of what we do all around and a good picture of things we're always trying to get better at.”
“Like a lot of the songs on Siege, ‘Plateau’ is a kind of metaphor-driven vision of a bleak outlook on humanity and the way people, society, America self-sabotages,” explains Hagan as he puts the track in context within the album. “The conceit of the lyrics is that we're walking through a wasteland, a flat space with no definition, a plateau, that we've laid out for ourselves. Lyrically, ‘Plateau’ fits right in with the general sentiment of the the whole album. To read my own lyrics a bit, it's like saying humanity is stuck trying to wade itself out of its own colossal fuck up and that the sad truth is that sometimes the things we try to do to make things right are a charade that might make us feel good but are just making things worse or satisfying a destructive selfishness that we can't even recognize. We made things in this world a living hell, for sure, but that's the point. It's our home, we built it. It's our shit. That's what fucking reeks,” Hagan says.
By most standards, Hagan is a mega fan of the post-apocalyptic author Cormac McCarthy. He has read all McCarthy’s books, many several times over, and also studied the writer as a topic in his graduate-level studies. Placing this fact in the context of YOTC's lyrics really makes sense when looking at the often-bleak themes of failing human culture.
“I find it the most honest to strive to write lyrics for the kind of music we play that both exercise what I'm mad as hell about but also what sobers me the fuck up and makes me look at everything toxic about myself. They're the two best things to rage about,” ends Hagan.
No reason why a healthy rage and hope for change cannot coexist.