YOB - The Great Cessation
Profound Lore Records
Harsh Stoner Doom
5 songs (61'55")
Release year: 2009
YOB, Profound Lore Records
Reviewed by Adam
Album of the month
A little over two minutes into the latest YOB album, one thing becomes abundantly evident: Mike Scheidt has a lot of pent up frustration to unleash. Seriously though, can you blame him? YOB’s founder/guitarist/vocalist has been through quite a trying last couple of years. For those unaware, here is a brief recap. Mike disbanded YOB in 2006, primarily due to the departures of bassist Isamu Sato and drummer Travis Foster in 2005. He then moved on to a new project, Middian, soon after. This band released one very solid album before being blindsided with a lawsuit from a little known Wisconsin band with a similarly spelled name (Midian). This caused Metal Blade to immediately drop Scheidt’s band from their roster and cease sales of their album. Being in a doom band without a label generally does not afford one the wealth required to endure a prolonged court battle, so Scheidt was forced to close down shop on Middian. The whole ordeal was quite ridiculous, and you can read more about here should you so desire. After this strange episode, Mike reached out to Travis Foster and YOB was born again. They were soon picked up by Profound Lore Records, and have graced doom fans with a fifth album this year, entitled The Great Cessation.

As the meat of the first track, Burning the Altar, was blasting out of my speakers, it was impossible to ignore that YOB have changed. As I alluded to in the opening sentence, Scheidt belts out a squelch that will make your skin crawl. It is overflowing with emotion, namely anger. This isn’t the YOB you remember. They have risen from metal’s version of Pet Sematary, and have returned far more sinister. In fact, if you look closely, even the band’s logo has taken on an alter ego. The psychedelic wailings from albums past are (mostly) nowhere to be found. What remains are the mammoth riffs. As before, they are not only heavy but supremely loud as well. These, along with Scheidt’s aggressive vocals, serve to make Burning the Altar an outstanding opener, and a harbinger of things to come. The Lie that is Sin takes a faster, sludgier approach, and also makes use of Scheidt’s clean vocals, which bear a passing resemblance to Terry Jones of Pagan Altar. Perhaps the most haunting track comes next in Silence of Heaven. Nearly ten cold and dark minutes are spent in the presence of Scheidt’s tortured, reverberating wails over a bed of deep riffs at a funeral doom pace. If you haven’t followed this band before, this is quite a departure from the norm. It works, but I still prefer a less desolate YOB like that of the next track, Breathing from the Shallows. To me, this song is an excellent hybrid of the tortured vocals of Silence of Heaven with the driving and crushingly heavy riffs this band has made so familiar to their fans. I would call this the finest track on the album, but the best was truly saved for last. The title track is by far the lightest feeling and longest song on the album. The strange thing is that it doesn’t sound the least bit strange next to the fury and darkness of the other four songs. It begins in post-rock fashion with drifting clean guitars, and even when the full powers of the riffs are uncovered in mass distortion about six minutes in, the sound still maintains a free and dreamlike quality. Scheidt is really giving it his all in the vocal department as well, showing off the surprising range of his clean vocals, which often soar above the expansive riffing for added effect. It is truly a beautiful song, and I cannot personally remember the last time a twenty minute track was this continuously compelling.

If you have not gleaned it from my previous musings, The Great Cessation is one of the best doom efforts thus far in 2009, and a triumphant return for YOB. I fully encourage anyone who is the slightest bit interested in any form of doom to check this out. Though the demise of Middian was unfortunate, it is hard to mourn them when you have a band like YOB and an excellent album like The Great Cessation to help you move on.
Killing Songs :
Burning the Altar, Breathing from the Shallows, The Great Cessation
Adam quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by YOB that we have reviewed:
YOB - Our Raw Heart reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
YOB - Clearing The Path to Ascend reviewed by Kynes and quoted 95 / 100
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