June 4, 2018 YOB – Our Raw Heart (Album Review)
One cannot truly achieve ultimate happiness without first allowing a little doom into his or her life — Doom Metal music, that is! The underdog sub-genre, it lies deep below the realm of Metal music where bands typically play super slow, super heavy songs, with time lengths sometimes lasting over an hour long.
Harnessing this wall of sound wonderment is the Oregon-based band YOB, which has been writing music since its start in the late ’90s, stirring the seas, aligning the stars, and peacefully communicating with distant galaxies during its awakening. Since that time, YOB has released seven highly-praised full-length albums into the world, with 2014’s Clearing The Path To Ascend being the most recent… that was until now. That is right, YOB are set to return on Friday, June 8, 2018 from its slumber, bearing down its new record Our Raw Heart, with help from music label heavyweight Relapse Records.
Our Raw Heart contains seven songs ranging anywhere from 5 to 16 minutes of pure doomy bliss; seven tracks sure to put the listener into a trance. Singer/Guitarist, and sole member, Mike Scheidt accomplishes this with the sound of his passionate voice; a voice ranging from always-gorgeous singing, to equally as gorgeous growls, complementing the quiet acoustic whispers, and the warm, distorted loudness of his beautifully written guitar parts.
“Ablaze” is the first song on YOB’s new record, picking up right where Clearing The Path To Ascend had last left off. Just over 10 minutes long, “Ablaze” comes in strongly before parting an ocean down the middle, where across the bare ocean floor, the listener is taken along a slow, steady walk towards dry land while walls of rising water await on either side for their moment to come crashing back down.
After the air has cleared, second track “The Screen” begins with this killer triplet stop/go riff, which just gets bigger sounding as the song moves along, becoming this long gorgeous, harmonious chorus. Drummer Travis Foster is particularly great on this track with his perfectly timed compositions that sound like a giant beast slowly marching across a desolate field, one stomping foot after the other—a drum part sure to cause jealousy for any fast-playing drummer because of Foster’s impeccable slow, hitting composure.
Bassist Aaron Rieseberg starts off third track “In Reverie,” but it is best to hear this song in headphones especially to play a prank on a friend at the 50-second mark. Rieseberg’s bass line is haunting, and thought-inducing—but this is just the beginning of the song. Not only does Rieseberg shine on this track, he does just as fantastic throughout the record. If headphones are available, or a well-equipped car stereo, the bass sound will bury itself into the brain cavity, and some people may also hear the sweet sound of bass string crackle on almost every pluck. Reiseberg is a great bassist whose compositions prove his true musicianship, and a perfect companion for superb Drummer Foster.
While Our Raw Heart has so much greatness bleeding from its valves, it would take two reviews to go over every nook and cranny, but it is imperative to mention the last track on YOB’s new record, the aptly-titled “Our Raw Heart.” One of the coolest things about this track is how it starts all nicey nicey, and pretty, just before blasting the ears of an unsuspecting listener! The long journey in which YOB will take the listener here—extra especially for how this song slowly ends—is absolutely mesmerizing, fulfilling, and may cause many tears to rain down from the eyes from how beautiful this track sounds, and because the lyrics beg the listener to imagine his or her own story to the words.
To get all this greatness heard on Our Raw Heart, Recording Engineer Billy Barnett put a lot of his imagination into the mixing board. This fact, Jack, is heard on every track: from subtle sounds fading from one speaker to the other; how the instruments contain the perfect amount of reverb; and on how the dynamics of YOB’s sound going from light to heavy is perfectly realized and captured onto tape. Without Barnett, the harmony Our Raw Heart will give to the world would not be possible!
‘Til this very day, YOB has never faltered in its way of writing great tunes. The three musicians of YOB are like a tight-knit family, putting in always true, genuine emotion into the tunes they write together. Any fan of the underrated ’90s band Hum would surely enjoy the heck out of YOB—two completely different types of bands, yes, but the atmosphere, the heaviness, that wall of sound is what both bands share. Anyone hearing YOB for the first will be entranced in its way of provoking gorgeous imagery and dreamy landscapes through music played with a heart raw in emotion.
For an amazing journey at the hands of three talented musicians, CrypticRock proudly gives YOB’s Our Raw Heart a powerful 5 out of 5 stars.