Music

Yob Highlight Their Conceptual Vision on 'Our Raw Heart'

Publicity photo via Bandcamp

To characterize Our Raw Heart as consistent is not to damn the record with faint praise as Yob's music is as powerful and beautiful as ever.

Our Raw Heart
Yob

Relapse

8 June 2008

Yob's singer/guitarist, Mike Scheidt, has commented on his pursuit of an emotionally and spiritually immersive musical experience that is greater than the sum of its parts. Neurosis, for one, mastered this technique, and their influence on Yob has been apparent from the beginning. One wonders, then, if Yob's trajectory might resemble that of Neurosis, where dense sludge and thunderous hardcore (or post-hardcore) elements gracefully evolve into a contemplative, dissonant, folk-infused doom metal.

Yob's creative decisions on Atma (2011) – especially its final track, "Adrift in the Ocean", a song that both shimmers with cathartic beauty and rages with force – and Clearing the Path to Ascend (2014) suggest just such an evolution. Most suggestive and generally striking of all up to that point was the final track on Ascend, "Marrow", nearly 19 minutes in length, cleanly sung, and structured around a simple repeated musical theme. Scheidt has performed this song in acoustic settings with the melody arrangement mostly unchanged, and the result is at least as stark as the original.

But Our Raw Heart follows through on not one but several musical threads over the course of its basically merciless 73-minute running time. The opener "Ablaze" and the glowing centerpiece, "Beauty in Falling Leaves", are together the clearest heir to the style embodied on Clearing the Path to Ascend. The latter song is the album's longest at 16 minutes – some bands are packing up the van in the time it takes Scheidt to clear his throat – and heir to the style of "Marrow".

Whereas on earlier Yob releases Scheidt's vocals were just that – vocalized sounds made by the human voice, ranging from a high-pitched semi-tuneful wail to a heaving roar, on "Beauty in Falling Leaves" he sounds for the first time like a straightforwardly and conventionally skilled singer. It is a surprise, but a welcomed one. Here the band achieves a genuine kind of meditative beauty, and the song is more reminiscent of the solemn classic doom of Pallbearer or Warning than anything appearing on their own last two records.

At other points Our Raw Heart goes in different musical directions. "The Screen", for example, looks back to the band's gnarled roots with a plodding opening riff that sounds like something off Eyehategod's first album, bass and drums undergirding the verses in minimalist 1980s-era Melvins style. "Lungs Reach" is mostly instrumental, again, recalling ambient moments on Neurosis' Through Silver in Blood (1996). Here Scheidt employs one of about half a dozen vocals styles the album.

The songs do not cohere with the same kind of symmetry as those on Clearing the Path to Ascend did – four songs, four sides, one musical and philosophical path upwards – but the band's three musicians have history and an evident chemistry that clearly affords them creative flexibility without sacrificing consistency. They have a conceptual vision too – and this is not too grand a word for Scheidt's relentless and cryptic existential questioning, more urgent than ever on Our Raw Heart. Consistency in all such things should not be read as damning the record with faint praise – Yob's music simply remains powerful and beautiful.

7
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Love in the Time of Coronavirus

OK Go's Emotional New Ballad, "All Together Now", Inspired by Singer's Bout with COVID-19

Damian Kulash, lead singer for OK Go discusses his recent bout with COVID-19, how it impacted his family, and the band's latest pop delight, "All Together Now", as part of our Love in the Time of Coronavirus series.

Books

The Rules Don't Apply to These Nonconformist Novelists

Ian Haydn Smith's succinct biographies in Cult Writers: 50 Nonconformist Novelists You Need to Know entice even seasoned bibliophiles.

Music

Siren Songs' Meredith Kaye Clark and Jenn Grinels Debut As a Folk Duo (album stream + interview)

Best friends and longtime musical collaborators Meredith Kaye Clark and Jenn Grinels team up as Siren Songs for the uplifting folk of their eponymous LP.

Music

Buzzcocks' 1993 Comeback 'Trade Test Transmissions' Showed Punk's Great Survivors' Consistency

PopMatters' appraisal of Buzzcocks continues with the band's proper comeback LP, Trade Test Transmissions, now reissued on Cherry Red Records' new box-set, Sell You Everything.

Music

Archie Shepp, Raw Poetic, and Damu the Fudgemunk Enlighten and Enliven with 'Ocean Bridges'

Ocean Bridges is proof that genre crossovers can sound organic, and that the term "crossover" doesn't have to come loaded with gimmicky connotations. Maybe we're headed for a world in which genres are so fluid that the term is dropped altogether from the cultural lexicon.

Books

Claude McKay's 'Romance in Marseille' Is Ahead of Its Time

Claude McKay's Romance in Marseille -- only recently published -- pushes boundaries on sexuality, disability, identity -- all in gorgeous poetic prose.

Music

Christine Ott Brings the Ondes Martenot to New Heights with the Mesmerizing 'Chimères'

France's Christine Ott, known for her work as an orchestral musician and film composer, has created a unique new solo album, Chimères, that spotlights an obscure instrument.

Music

Man Alive! Is a Continued Display of the Grimy-Yet-Refined Magnetism of King Krule

Following The OOZ and its accolades, King Krule crafts a similarly hazy gem with Man Alive! that digs into his distinct aesthetic rather than forges new ground.

Books

The Kinks and Their Bad-Mannered English Decency

Mark Doyles biography of the Kinks might complement a seminar in British culture. Its tone and research prove its intent to articulate social critique through music for the masses.

Music

ONO Confronts American Racial Oppression with the Incendiary 'Red Summer'

Decades after their initial formation, legendary experimentalists ONO have made an album that's topical, vital, uncomfortable, and cathartic. Red Summer is an essential documentation of the ugliness and oppression of the United States.

Film

Silent Women Filmmakers No Longer So Silent: Alice Guy Blaché and Julia Crawford Ivers

The works of silent filmmakers Alice Guy Blaché and Julia Crawford Ivers were at risk of being forever lost. Kino Lorber offers their works on Blu-Ray. Three cheers for film historians and film restoration.

Music

Rush's 'Permanent Waves' Endures with Faultless Commercial Complexity

Forty years later, Rush's ability to strike a nearly perfect balance between mainstream invitingness and exclusory complexity is even more evident and remarkable. The progressive rock classic, Permanent Waves, is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.