Yakuza Credit: Dan Lutger

Chicago has always been a good town when it comes to producing homegrown metal bands—the south side rocked heavy in the 80s with the likes of Trouble, Cianide, and Macabre—but it didn’t develop the international reputation it deserved until the 90s, when north-side postrock collaborators drew hipster attention. From there a new generation of freaks exploded forth. When Yakuza formed at the end of the decade, their grindcore base and free-jazz eruptions sounded like no one else, to the extent that some people refuse to consider them metal at all. Labels aside, a huge number of the greatest innovative metal bands in the world have found them brilliant stagemates in the years since. This once-ubiquitous institution has been on hiatus and hasn’t played out in a year and a half. Front man and sax player (and sometime Empty Bottle staff member) Bruce Lamont tells me the band is feeling recharged by rehearsals and he hopes they will record again in the future. The lineup, which has been steady since 2009, also includes guitarist Matt McClelland, drummer James Staffel, and bassist Ivan Cruz. Legendary producer-engineer Sanford Parker, who is also Lamont’s collaborator in Corrections House, will sit in with the band for a few tunes, as will the amazing avant-metal cellist Helen Money.   v