Yob - Clearing the Path to AscendFor this review, I wanted to find a band that was very popular with metalheads, but whose material I wasn’t personally familiar with. So when Eugene, Oregon doom masters Yob showed up on the promo list, I jumped at the chance to review their new album, “Clearing the Path to Ascend.” I first started the Yob journey a couple of days ago by listening to their two previous albums, 2009’s “The Great Cessation” and 2011’s “Atma.” I found both of these albums to be raw, passionate, spirited and menacing, and I asked myself one question: “Hey dummy, why didn’t you discover this band sooner?” Well, I guess it’s better late than never.

Comprised of vocalist/guitarist Mike Scheidt, drummer Travis Foster, and bassist Aaron Reisberg, the trio have once again expertly forged four songs with colossal drag along riffs, trudging drums, and excruciating emotional vocals that will shake you to your core.

The first track, ‘In Our Blood,’ is almost 17 minutes long. This earth trembling song demands the attention of your mind, body and soul, as it takes you on an emotionally draining, epic journey full of crawling, forbidding riff-soaked soundscapes and Scheidt‘s intense, knifelike, ominous vocal execution.

The second, surprisingly up-tempo track is ‘Nothing to Win,’ which features thunderous drums by Foster and Reisberg‘s fiercely hammered baselines, fused with a harsh driven riff by Scheidt that, if you’re not careful, might cause whiplash. Spanning across the 15 minute journey that is ‘Unmask the Spectre,’ we go back and forth between atmospheric calmness and crushing sludge brutality, with Scheidt‘s vocal performance serving both sides of the story flawlessly. ‘Marrow,’ the last and longest track, starts out with more atmospheric elements and near-clean, passionate vocals, then halfway through it shifts briefly to a bluesy guitar riff, until finally the album sails off into the sunset with psychedelic heaviness.

Yes, “Clearing the Path to Ascend” is only four songs, and the running time is 62 minutes, but it felt like it ran only half that time because each song is well-crafted and truly a pleasure to listen to. Yob, you have found yourselves a new fan, and I am deeply sorry I didn’t discover you sooner.

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