Sunday, January 4, 2015

Yob - Clearing the Path to Ascend (2014)
I'm a huge fan of doom metal, but this band has never done much for me until now. 2011's "Atma" was decent at best, but on "Clearing the Path to Ascend" it feels like the band have finally coalesced their sound into a clear emotional statement.

Like Pallbearer, Yob craft a very heavy, dense, psychedelic sound. The difference is that Yob are a bit more "metal" and less melodic than their doom counterparts, and they have shouted vocals akin to post-metal such as Isis and Cult of Luna.

Yob's lumbering, mammoth riffs on this album stand in extreme contrast to the introspective, Pink Floydian acoustic sections. Each of the 4 gargantuan tracks on this record perfectly matches the mood of the album cover: a journey into an unknown, exotic land lost in the mists of time. Mike Scheidt's vocals are some of the best I've heard in doom. His mournful, languid clean vocals perfectly compliment his throaty, caveman growls.

But what I consider to be the underlying strength of this album is that despite all 4 songs being over 10 minutes and quite repetitive, I rarely felt bored. Instead, I found the hazy, dark atmosphere on "Clearing the Path to Ascend" the perfect enticement to keep listening. The wait was well worth it as I reached "Marrow," my favorite track. "Marrow" is a haunting, brooding doom masterpiece that is easily the culmination of Yob's discography. "Clearing the Path to Ascend" is certainly not something that most people will get into on the first listen, but it's well worth investing time into as it's truly a doom gem. Along with the new Pallbearer record, this one gets my vote as best doom album of 2014.


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