Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Yob: "Clearing the Path to Ascend"

With the sample of "time to wake up" the quiet before the storm begins to stir as we enter the 16 minute "In Our Blood". This feel more like apocalyptic sludge to me than doom. Why isn't this doom? Well we shall explore this as we tunnel deeper into this album. Most artists hate getting pigeon holed by genre labels any way so I doubt Yob cares if this is doom or not. The ghostly clean vocals that start this off are more effective than if they had started off with the roar from the get go. This Oregon band has been around since 1996 and 'Clearing the Path To Ascend " is their 7th album and first for Neurot. So from the way this flows alone it's evident these guys have now nailed down what they want to do. By the end of the opener it's clear to me they have achieved the sweet spot of being as heavy sonically as they are metal.

There is a denser tribal pound boiling on "Nothing to Win". This will feel more familiar to traditional metal heads, while the song maintains it's sonic integrity. When you are writing 16 minute epics, you have more than enough to stretch out your legs a bit in terms of dynamics.The hooks feel a little sharper on this album. At the six and a half minute moment the song roars out of the riffs it has been droning on to create a sludge tinged storm.

Even in the darker moments of "Unmask the Spectre" this album feels more sludge to me than doom.They use the drone well balancing enough eerie melody in the guitar lines to keep you under hypnosis. The chug they bring down like a hammer is dirty with plenty of heft.The vocals are largely harshly screamed , though well placed and accented. Around the seven and a half minute mark, the vocals become more sung though still coated with rasp.It's when the female vocals come in over the lumbering riff in the song's third act that the song really shines. If you are going to bring an album to a close it should be big or go home, so they saved the longest yarn for the last.

"Marrow" clocks in at over 18 minutes, it drifts in on a cloud of post- rock wandering before distortion is stepped on to make this thing soar more. The clean almost feminine tone to the vocals work well, I thought it might be the chick from Devils Blood at first , until I saw no other credits for vocals aside from Mike.The song rise in a constant build before they let the bottom fall out of it at the 11 minute mark. They let it sail out into a dreamy sea. It's this song that answers the questions we raised earlier as to why this isn't doom. The answer is while this album has a range of emotion to it, none of it has a mourning or depressive quality to it. There is still always a sliver of hope even in the roar of the tempest.

These songs are long and this album is not just music to put on for a trip to the liquor store, unless your closest liquor store is on top of a mountain.It is a big bite to digest. I am going to give it a 9 as it continues to grow on me. It really has not fault, but I am not sure due to the sprawling nature if it is something that I will get a ton of mileage out of unless I have the time to devote to taking in the whole album as it deserves to be heard.  

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