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YOB - Our Raw Heart


Given that singer / guitar player / mastermind Mike Scheidt went through some serious health issues which nearly cost him his life, that alone cannot be taken for granted

Naturally this new album is strongly informed by Scheidt's struggle, mirroring his darkest hours as well as the triumph of survival.
Of course this origin story sounds familiar from albums like Behemoth's "The Satanist". And it kind of raises your expectations to an admittedly unfair level, because even though us rational people don't believe in the rule that true art can only be created through suffering, there are just too many artists out there who achieved their greatest works through the experience of pain. With that in mind, how can you not expect something especially extraordinary from a band that is already as outstanding as Yob?

YOB - Our Raw Heart (metallic gold vinyl 2LP) (2018)


The opening track "Ablaze" wastes no time to showcase almost everything that is to love about Yob. Intense epic doom metal with urgent fury and trancendent beauty. A super heavy Neurosis-inspired sound, gripping riffs and melodies in a unique voice - and of course on top of everything that singing voice of Mike Scheidt. It's almost unbelievable that he basically had to learn to sing again before this recording could happen. His high melodic vocals are frail and majestic at the same time, carrying so much emotion. But then also his deep bellowing is as powerful as ever. Impressive, man, impressive!
The song itself is flawless and could easily stand beside everything the band has ever done, be it 2011's "Atma" which was my personal introduction to the band, the all-time classic "The Great Cessation" or the overwhelming last release "Clearing The Path To Ascend" from 2014. And this is just the beginning.


After the ten glorious minutes of "Ablaze" the album switches gears drastically. Mainly focussing on brutally dry and repetitive riffs and confining melodies strictly to the chorus "The Screen" is Yob at their bleakest.
Scheidt's verse voice is very reminiscent of none other that Thomas Gabriel Fischer on Celtic Frost's "Monotheist" and the following works with Triptykon. Hope is sparse at this point. And it will get even darker.


"In Reverie" is a desperate bastard of classic epic doom metal and slightly off post metal harmonies, a beast that painfully but captivating sludges its way for over nine minutes, until it crawls into the absolutely lightless pit of the minimalistic, droning "Lungs Reach", a sonic illustration of bare survival, culminating in the most guttural death doom.


On side C the central epic of "Our Raw Heart" awaits us with majestic tear-jerking waves of light, hope, pure touching emotions. The over sixteen minutes long hymn "Beauty In Falling Leaves" follows predecessors like "The Great Cessation" or "Marrow", which to me still is one of the best doom songs ever written. And damn, this is just as good, if not even better! This voice and how it carries the lyrics - it's just so heartfelt and larger than life at the same time. Undescribable. If the chorus line "Your heart brings me home" doesn't touch you here, you should thoroughly check if your mirror image or shadow are missing, because you probably have no soul.


With only seven minutes "Original Face" is a relatively short bridge between the most monumental tracks. A thick grooving mid-tempo track, which even though it is pretty straight forward somehow reminds me of Disharmonic Orchestra. It also features one of the rare instances in which we can hear a classic high lead guitar sound in a Yob song.


Oh, the feelings! They are striking again big time in the finale, which is the 14+ minute title track of "Our Raw Heart". For the most part it meditates over one fantastic riff, which is doom as much as it is stoner rock with strong eastern and psychedelic influences. The slow fade-out makes the song go on in your mind for eternity.

And it closes an album that leaves me almost out of words by now. It's so huge. So real and pure. So masterfully executed. Of course the test of time is still pending, but even after all the stunning work this band already has under its belly, "Our Raw Heart" could very well be the crowning achievement in Yob's discography.


As if the music, the lyrics, the origin of this album would not be enough, the artwork is also stunning, with daring full colours, which affirm the overall spirit of the record. Despite and because its dark spots and urgent tumults it ultimately and above everything else is a testimony of life.

As usual Relapse Records offers a bunch of interesting limited colour versions of the vinyl. I opted for the one easiest to get in Germany and I am very happy with it. Just look:

No, there is nothing even remotely bad about this album.

"Our Raw Heart" is essential doom.


Highlights: Beauty In Falling Leaves, Our Raw Heart, Ablaze

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