Formed in July 1999, Yakuza combine a variety of styles ranging from metal to free jazz to world beat. In 2000 the band self-released “Amount to Nothing” with immediate fanfare. The Chicago Sun Times raved, “Given half the chance this band could rule the alt-rock universe and raise its standards considerably.” National tours with Candiria and Burnt by the Sun followed as well as a slot on the highly
coveted Vans Warped Tour. In 2002, Yakuza performed at the SXSW music festival where they caught the attention of metal giants Century Media. A one-off deal was agreed to and in October, “Way of the Dead” was released.
Praise and respect for Way of the Dead came from all ends of the musical spectrum. Mainstream press noticed Yakuza was indeed a unique entity with write ups in Rolling Stone, Pulse and Alternative Press, the later naming them one of the top must see acts of 2003. The Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune and Village Voice all listed Way of the Dead as one of the top releases of 2002. Highbrow publications such as All that Jazz (10 0f 10), Visions (Germany) and the prestigious Wire magazine pronounced Way of the Dead as nothing short of musical mastery. Revolver (4.5 out of 5 review), Brave Words and Bloody Knuckles (9/10), Metal Maniacs (#8 top ten releases of 2002) Terrorizer and Metal Hammer (Italy, Germany, and in Greece) all confirmed that Yakuza’s metal blood bled through. Yakuza continued its crossover appeal by sharing the stage with such versatile artists as Opeth, Melt Banana, the Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon, Sonic Youth and jazz mainstay Ken Vandermark (whom also appeared on Way of the Dead). Hailed by critics from around the world as “the future of metal and jazz”. Yakuza continue its un-relentless commitment to exploring new ways of rhythmic, dynamic, and sonic expression that best represents the members collectively.
In early October 2005 the band signed a new contract with Prosthetic Records.