Yahzarah: The Ceremony
Musically this thing shakes and rattles and is gritty as hell!
Unfortunately The Ceremony opens on a bit of a cliché. Both in lyrical content and vocal delivery, with "Legend," Yazarah is very similar to many Black women who go the blues-rock route. Enunciation, delivery, the same type of vocal tone and inflections. It sounds a bit like someone who's trying to sound like what they think it means to do rock music as a Black woman. It was questionable whether I would be able to connect with her because I don't believe the presentation. It's too much like a performance. Less raw, spontaneous emotion. No less beautiful of a voice. Yahzarah has a great tone and lovely control. But "Legend" presents a disconnect between the rawness of musicianship and hyperstylization of the singing.
However, The Ceremony gets more creative and less stage performance the deeper you get into it. The very next song, "Creatures" has more nuance, more authentic soul that doesn't rely on overexaggerating the trope. "Drugs" and "Ashes" reach deeper into the soul and bring some real emotion, real lyrical nuance. The music becomes more balanced, vocal and musicians matching in scope and vision.
Despite opening on something more akin to a pantomime of blues-rock, The Ceremony delivers on soul that's from the gut, raw and emotive. I believe Yahzarah's heartache, and that's really all that matters in the end.