Thursday, July 14, 2011

Yob - "Atma" (2011) [Profound Lore Records]

Oh man, where do I start with Yob? They were my first doom band - can you believe that? Before I listened to Agalloch, ISIS, Neurosis, or even black metal, there was Yob. Whilst browsing Metal-Archives, being the naive teenager I was, I came across the term "doom metal," and, having never heard the term, chuckled to myself at how mind-bendingly stupid the term was. But, something compelled me to check out just what was going on with this, seeing as people were mentioning Black Sabbath and such, and the first band my stubby 15-year-old fingers found was Yob. A short name. Simple, effective, and they had just released a new album, entitled The Unreal Never Lived. I suddenly recall a brief mention in my latest issue of Revolver magazine. One listen and I was never the same. I was a music maniac, grabbing everything I possibly could. I distinctly recall being heartbroken when my new favorite band broke up mere months after I discovered them, and my elation upon the release of the Middian album. Subsequent "ups and downs," as frontman Mike Scheidt called them in our interview after their most recent Chicago show, correlated with his career, but I knew that, upon releasing The Great Cessation two summers ago, that Yob was here to stay. Would I be here, running this website without Yob? Probably not.

My excitement peaked when the consistently awesome label Profound Lore announced their plans to release Yob's latest album, entitled Atma. Having been a little peeved with the production of the last album (I'm the last person to comment on studio work as I have zero experience, but The Great Cessation was a tad too clean for Yob's take on doom), I definitely found myself interested in Yob's massive sound paired with Profound Lore's tendency to release albums with more earthy, natural production. Oh yeah, also it was a Yob album, so excitement was abound, production or not.

Initially, I was afraid Atma would be one of those albums that suffers from "first listen syndrome" and would subsequently become more and more disappointing with each listen, but, after at least 12 listens this week, I am still just as floored as if I had just listened to it for the first time. Even after four other albums of riff-heavy, texturally interesting, epic doom metal, Yob is still able to churn out their own brand of doom metal and keep it fresh, which is more than I can say about the armies of "one-album wonders" that plague the genre.

First things first, this album is heavy, probably the heaviest Yob has ever been. Foregoing the usual "atmospheric and big" sound they've perfected, Atma shows Yob on the offensive, replacing atmosphere with pure, raw, emotional aggression. Yes, I'm fairly certain quite a few people will be disappointed with the absence of the long psychedelic breaks present on previous albums, but don't let my word fool you; this is still, most definitely, a Yob album, but it is something very different. Yob doesn't need to be pretty and shiny to be Yob, anyway. Scheidt's guitar tone is the thickest it has ever been: raw, punchy, and deep, which, incidentally, is perfect for the heavy riffing you will hear all over this album. While other Yob albums have been said to "move mountains," Atma completely decimates them with its effervescent ferocity, leaving smoldering craters in its wake. An especially memorable cameo from Scott Kelly in the lengthy "Before We Dreamed Of Two" features Yob crawling at their absolute slowest, playing a deep, funeral blues, being sure to preserve Scott Kelly's "billion year old soul voice."

Of course, Yob wouldn't be Yob with at least some psychedelia, am I right? Though not as pushed into the forefront like other albums, the aforementioned "Before We Dreamed Of Two" and the epic closer "Adrift In The Ocean" feature Scheidt's signature guitar-driven atmospheres, filling speakers with a smokey haze that just screams "This is a Yob record. Don't you forget that."

As you can probably tell by my enamored and heightened speech, Yob really is something special to me. It is a very humbling experience to know that just one band opened so many doors for my artistic evolution, and the honor to finally work with what the New York Times says "may very well be the most important band in America" is without a doubt an honor. Though quite a few people might be disappointed to not hear another shimmering The Great Cessation with this one, I am certain that Atma will be strongly appreciated by Yob fans, whether weathered or new.

This may very well be my favorite album of 2011.



  1. Great review man. That's fucking power. Im definitely making a conscience decision to get this album cemented into my mind to rock out extra hard when i see them in a few weeks with dark castle and worm ouroboros at Gilman

  2. Nice review! I've been excited for this album too. Now I am even more so!


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