Magically, as spring rolls into summer, the best doom album year to date transforms your own beat of seasons from yesterday’s ominous banality into today’s realization that the best doom metal will dim an August sun into an orb of yellow-orange bittersweet dread for the winter to come. Yob‘s miraculous, magnificent Our Raw Heart is the kind of album that will turn the sun dim and have you repeatedly return for the experience.
As with 2014’s Clearing the Path to Ascend and 2009’s The Great Cessation, the Eugene, Oregon trio known as Yob have taken 2018’s Our Raw Heart beyond the thunderstorms that Yob have left in its wake on previous outings and summoned yet a grander storm that pounds with greater fury and a more refined, heart-churning focus.
Reaching in deeply to wrench its chest open toward a violent sky, Yob expose its raw heart to roar back at the latest storm, to become fragile in the power of thunderheads and lightning. Lead vocalist Mike Scheidt gives strength to that fragility, though, in a track like “The Screen” (notice the opening Gojira riff hammer attack), when he goes to the plaintive voice sandwiched between the dirty vocal accusations. From dark insistence to the track’s gray perspective, “The Screen” sets the pattern for the heaviness ahead.
The detuned bass in the introduction of “In Reverie” plays the classical lull before ten-thousand-ton guitars slam finger-lift chords so weighty they dare any recording medium to bear their mass. Scheidt scorches through the reverb and rancor to terrify, to put wrong in its place by voicing its common horror, to bring it wriggling from its darkest crevice and make it cower in the tenebrous limn.
“Lung’s Reach,” as well as the majority the album’s tracks, tests only the arm strength of drummer Travis Foster and not his sense of rhythm. He hammers and pounds punctuation for each downstroke at the ends of every leaden phrase. But as a gorgon awakened, he is awakened to drive the poignant swing in the album’s best song and one of Yob’s finest achievements, “Beauty in Falling Leaves.”
Yob tower over other doom bands and “Beauty in Falling Leaves” towers over Yob’s earlier achievement. The song centers the granite range of Our Raw Heart with a heartbreaking 16 minutes of certainty that doom is an imperative. It is a rare achievement to take a genre with the strictures and restraints of doom and yank out beauty unmatched.
(released June 8, 2018 on Relapse Records)
Heavy Music Headquarters Rating:
Listen To Yob – “The Screen”