Album: Our Raw Heart
Label: Relapse Records
Genre: Doom Metal
Release Date: 08 June, 2018
Yob is a band I have always admired and respected, but one I’ve always struggled to love. When I first heard The Great Cessation I was absolutely blown away by Burning the Alter. Mike Scheidt’s screams were so primal and intense, while his cleans were emotional and beautiful. The atmosphere of the song was absolutely monstrous, and the music just took me on the journey. Unfortunately, the rest of the album felt unvaried and tiresome. Until Clearing the Path to Ascend there wasn’t a Yob album that I enjoyed listening to from top to bottom (and personally that’s how I prefer to take music in). After a near fatal 2017, Mike Scheidt and company are back with Our Raw Heart in 2018. The album has a gargantuan atmosphere created by calculated instrumentation. This teamed with Mike Scheidt’s most emotionally powerful vocal performance to date makes for a (mostly) stellar album.
The production on this album is immaculate. Every single instrument has their own space to fill and they do so beautifully. The bass has a spacey tone that is hypnotic when given a proper listen. The drums lay the foundation that the guitar and bass stand on. They have a strong punch that you can feel with every strike. The riffs are the bread and butter of Yob, and this album is no different. The soundscapes that Mike creates and bellows over can range from haunting, beautiful and uplifting.
The first single released was The Screen, a nine minute track that starts with a stripped down simple riff and proceeds to build from there, never deviating from the droning rhythm. On first listen this song really impressed me with the fact that Yob was able to create an almost ten minute song using one riff as the backbone that didn’t lose my interest. However on subsequent listens the song became less dynamic and sort of monotonous. The Screen isn’t without its merits though, there are some real strong vocal moments in the chorus, and there are some large sections in the song. The song is predominantly stripped bare and simple though and for me made it one of the weaker sections on the album.
Beauty In Falling leaves is the beginning of the end of the album, and it is an incredibly beautiful piece of music. Clocking in at over sixteen minutes, Yob gives you the feeling that you’re laying alone in a peaceful forest absolved of all your problems. When the chorus kicks in the song becomes even larger, enveloping you in the wall of sound created by the instruments and Mike’s pained voice shouting “… Been this way throughout my life”, I’m blown away by this song on every listen. Throughout the song the bass tone sounds straight from another planet, it’s alien. The song finishes the exact same way it started, and is the perfect comedown after such a moving song.
After those dichotomous song descriptions, you may be unsure how I feel about this album. Well I’m a bit unsure myself to be honest. This is a seven track album and I absolutely love four of the songs (Ablaze, Beauty in Falling Leaves, Original Face & Our Raw Heart), but the center section of the album is a real grind for me to get through unfortunately. The screen has become almost a chore to get through all nine minutes, if it was shortened to around 5-6 minutes (I know this is doom and I’m speaking heresy) I think it would really serve the song to be less monotonous. Then there are the tracks In Reverie and Lungs Reach that should’ve just been one song with some of the filler left behind. There are great moments in both of these songs, but there is just too much in the way to get there unfortunately.
Our Raw Heart is a tough one to review for me. For one thing, Our Raw Heart and Beauty In falling leaves are two of my favorite Yob songs ever recorded. On the other hand, there is a 3 song 25 minute section (back to back to back) that becomes harder to get through on subsequent listens. I’ve always had a hard time enjoying an entire Yob album and this one was no different, however I enjoyed around 50 minutes of material from this album and that’s a long album for most artists. Our Raw Heart has some of Yob’s best material they’ve recorded, unfortunately the album is bogged down by some lengthy forgettable tracks. I feel there are pieces of this album for everybody, but you have to dig deep and be a real fan to love every second of this 73 minute album.
2. The Screen
3. In Reverie
4. Lungs Reach
5. Beauty In Falling Leaves
6. Original Face
7. Our Raw Heart
Total Playing Time: 1:13:22
I’m pretty great. Just ask me, I’ll tell ya.