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The Chicago hardcore/metal quartet Yakuza formed in July 1999, consisting of vocalist/saxophonist Bruce Lamont, guitarist Eric Plonka, bassist Eric Clark, and drummer James Staffel. They released their first album, Amount to Nothing, in 2000 on the small independent label Product del Diablo, eventually winning the attention of Century Media, with whom they signed for their next album. That release, entitled Way of the Dead, came out in the fall of 2002, again showcasing the band's unique take on hardcore and metal, blended with other sounds and styles running the gamut from Tuvan throat singing to free jazz saxophones to sprawling instrumental post-rock. The band's third long-player, 2006's Samsara, was also their first outing for the Prosthetic label, and featured guest appearances from pianist Jim Baker, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, Minsk's Sanford Parker, and Mastodon's Troy Sanders. The expansive, psych-tinged Transmutations arrived in 2007, followed by the Profound Lore-issued Of Seismic Consequence and Beyul in 2011 and 2012, respectively. ~ William York