Sleep, Pentgram, Black Sabbath
This is a special review in memory of a dear friend and brother of the Rotation11 family. His passion for music and love for the band YOB impacted us. Understanding that they have a significant underground following they never were obscure enough to make it on our site, however, we are making an exception for this one.
YOB has released six albums to date; Elaborations of Carbon (2002), Catharsis (2003), The Illusion of Motion (2004), The Unreal Never Lived (2005), The Great Cessation (2009) and Atma (2011). They are a doom trio from Oregon, USA and their blend of music is heavy as hell, sludgy to the core and mind-bending at times. Their latest release Atma is five tracks weighing in at over fifty five minutes of doom-riffage that will scrape the paint off your walls and with lyrics that are somewhat fabled and mind expanding. So sit back, grab a cold one and just take it all in.
We dive right into the doom on the opener "Prepare the Ground" with its grinding, yet head-bobbing riff. Right away you know this must be cranked to at least 9 or 10 on the volume knob. The vocals of Mike Scheidt are unique and they complement the music very well; they are kind of a mix between a younger Ozzy with a twist of Eric Wanger from Trouble. At first, the vocals may sound unusual, but we urge you to carry on, you get used to them and realize the talent here. Next is the title track "Atma," it opens with a bit of peaceful soundscapes, but lookout, it changes on a dime. This track has sludge written all over it, the rhythm is dense and raw. If you like Crowbar or Neurosis, this is for you. We love the drop-off at the 5:49 mark, the guitar just sounds epic here and the spoken word and echoed vocals breathe life into this track.
If these two songs weren’t enough, we now move onto the epic "Before We Dreamed of Two". This track which clocks in at 15:19 opens with a psychedelic jam while the bass has this low liquefied sound. Than takes a dive right back into the doom we have come to expect from YOB. The vocals are varied throughout this song ranging from some tripped-out Ozzy to Kirk Windstein of Crowbar. Scott Kelly from the famed Neurosis lends his vocal talents here as well. At 7:19 minutes in, a deep-sea ambiance with a lamenting guitar and whispered singing steadily takes over your senses. Then gradually we are subjected to more Sleep-esq styled sludge and the song just goes out on a heavy ethereal state. Next is "Upon the Sight of the Other Shore," this one is the shortest on them all at 7:33. There is something about this song that sounds a bit like their older material and even resembles Sleeps’ Volume 1 album. It’s just sludgy and thick-nothing more.
The albums last track, "Adrift in the Ocean" clocks in at 13:33 and is a stellar song. The beginning guitar has a soft stoner rock, psychedelic sound that is off on its own planet and with the cymbals in the back, it just puts you in a spacious state of mind. Not knowing where this song will go, a brooding bass develops along with tight rhythmic drums. The exploration of this song is great. We are soon treated to a volcanic riff of sludge, it’s actually not to doomy as there is a sense of melodic musicianship here; somewhat like High on Fire. The vocals don’t kick in until the halfway point and man they are powerful and distinct. Another drop-off occurs where it’s just bass and tribal drums out of nowhere, it’s such a great addition; this had us cranking the dial to 11. Than an uncharacteristic appearance of a triumphant guitar leads the way for a bit than we return to a slow doom to end, in good ol’ YOB fashion.
YOB has produced a thoughtful doom metal album here, between the distinct vocals and songwriting; they set themselves apart from the many bands in the doom world. Metal fans that follow them are proud of this effort and newcomers should take notice as they are not your everyday gloom and doom band. We also look forward to the release of their newest album due out in late 2014. - 6/28/2014
Standout Tracks: Adrift in the Ocean, Before We Dreamed of Two