Named after a character of Michael Moorcock's Eliric series, Yyrkoon is a French band whose second album is out now through the fledgling Anvil Corp. The disc is graced with a very classy cover illustration and a fantasy motif that establishes a special heavy metal atmosphere. Not having heard the band's Velvet Music debut Oniric Transition, it would be impossible for this writer to contrast the albums. The Dying Sun line-up, which features a new lead guitarist and bassist, plays a brand of thrash with keyboards which is mostly fast-paced and flows well. The band has an accomplished sense of rhythm and the vocals alternate between the smooth and the gruff (the latter reminiscent of Peter of Hypocrisy) in the choruses. Yyrkkon has also delivered both good riffs and a good tone on the guitars! Check out the sharp tone at the beginning of Screamer. The leads are Malmsteen-esque solos which are used scantily given their obvious quality. One Surprise is how we don't hear them more often. This might possibly be due to a conscious decision not to take the focus away from the overall song. Listen to the lead trade-off on Screamer and other solos elsewhere - quite sharp! This band throws such riffs here and there that you want to raise the fist of the metal child. They don't sound forced either and weave ever so naturally into the song. The drums too are heavy, even if tidbits like the beginning of The Clans tell you that the band has possibly used digital drums. Having said that, who are you people to desecrate metal with your keyboards? What do you think you are doing? Have you the faintest idea what this music named metal means? Have you ever heard, say, the Number Of The Beast album? How about Slayer's Hell Awaits? Judas Priest's Defenders Of The Faith? If you haven't, then you should immediately - it will have you packing it in within the hour and shipping it back to Yamaha or whatever. How dare you insult the legacy of such monumental art? It really is too bad about the keyboards. Completely unnecessary and trendy, they ruin a band who could have been at the top of its game! Yyrkoon would have been the near perfect Euro-thrash band were it not for the pop concessions - how sad to let the amazing metallic sound, cover art and music to go to waste.

Osmose Productions' move to sign France's Yyrkoon beginning with its third album is a wise move. This is the band's hardest, most accomplished and most advanced album and a great CD in its own right. The band has reshuffled its line-up, recruited new bodies, ditched the keyboards and emerged as a much more powerful outfit. It will be difficult to compare Yyrkoon's sound now to any other acts for the music is the band's own, but if pressed Occult Medicine can be like a mating of Dissection and Massacra. The songs are entertaining, yet heavy; harmonic and melodic, yet built in a tough shell of metal and always powerful.The vocalist has a commanding presence and the solos - which occasionally reminiscent of Andy La Rocque's work - very skilled and all too few. Occult Medicine is a science that is both impressive and innovative at the same time. - Ali "The Metallian"

France’s Yyrkoon is quite an interesting band. Death metal bands have sadly been blending into each other sonically from time to time, but this quartet has a few differentiators set in motion, which can only bode well all around. The band has indeed maintained its crushing heaviness, let us be clear. This disc is not a weakened proposition. Having said that Yyrkoon clearly has a knack for writing complex riffs that hit hard. The album has a couple of well thought-out instrumentals, a solo by Andy La Rocque and a couple of standout songs like The Book and Horror From the Sea - obvious Lovecraft references both. The only letdown is the closing bonus song, Signs. Its trendy vocals should have been shelved.
The respective musicians are above average on their instruments. The guitarists know a thing or two about leads, riffs and harmony, the bassist rears his distorted head out often, while the drummer tries a few rolls not often heard in the competition.
Yyrkoon has never been the most brutal death metal band out there, but there is enough here to make Unhealthy Opera a pleasantly stimulating release. This would be my cue though to wonder about the album’s title. Indeed, the album features a Lovecraftian concept and depicts the vaguely described Yellow Sign of Cthulhu on its cover. Having said that Unhealthy Opera is hardly a stimulating title for a death metal album. - Ali “The Metallian”