It isn’t everyday here at It Djents that a record is as sought after as the new Yob record. A few hands have tried to get their grip on this most exciting piece of music but sadly we can’t let every single writer review it (actually we absolutely can but don’t want to burden you with reading 15 reviews for it). So it came down to myself and Dominik to discuss Our Raw Heart, please enjoy.
Writing atmospheric music is very hard and complex. A lot of musicians I’ve talked to said it’s as much about the notes you play, as it is about the ones you didn’t. In this fantastic year of post-metal, Yob stands out as an act that seems increasingly confident on what they should and shouldn’t play in this regard. This epiphany, about what’s important and what’s not, seemingly didn’t only happen on a musical level. With Our Raw Heart, the band opens a new chapter, one that is particularly personal to singer and guitarist Mike Scheidt, who suffered from an intestinal disease that almost cost him his life.
This tragedy is what fuels Our Raw Heart. An intimate and gentle record, yet soaring with renewed energy and the will to fight.
The fifth track “Beauty In Falling Leaves”, which falls in the renewed energy category, is in my opinion the most gorgeous track on the record. It starts with a little clean intro, which of course has light reverb and delay on it that builds upon itself. This melancholic yet sweet build up is entrancing in its simplicity and gripped me on my first listen. As they say though, the calm comes before the storm, and so the guitar explodes into a massive distorted riff. Drums and bass chime in immediately and the amalgamation of these instruments sounds bigger than the sum of its parts. Opalescent octaves dance over bass-laden overtones, while the beat pulsates under the sea of distortion and reverb like a heart pumping live into the track. Speaking of live, the track also seems to have quite the time on this blue earth, clocking in at around 16 minutes. But its stay is very welcome as the track caresses the ear with different variations of the first riff, all sounding majestic in their own right.
A track taking a different route is “Original Face”, with melancholic, flattering chords and half-screamed, half-sung vocals of Scheidt. As gritty and omnipresent as they feel they are very emotive and tend to stick to the listener, though nothing Yob does could be clearly called catchy. as for percussion, the abrasive drumming comes through a lot clearer on this song and the guitar barks like a wolf in the trap. A sad yet powerful and angry song, reflecting on Scheidts feelings during this hard time. Its droning nature and behemoth-like minor chords know no bounds and seem to escape the boundaries, a single guitar seemingly has.
Our Raw Heart is a wonderful piece of music that adds to the already impressive collection of post-metal records in 2018. With a superior sense for emotional compositions, heavy riffing, fragile atmospheres and rough clean and guttural vocals, Yob seems to be the perfect pick for everyone enjoying the current trends in doom and post-metal while also seeking for a record you won’t hear anywhere else. Though not all tracks could tickle my fancy, I was overall very pleased with the album. I wish all the best for the band and hope to a lot more from them in the future.
Personal Score: 8.5/10
Personally, I have never heard a full Yob album before signing up for this review; I’m admittedly not that much of a doom guy (unless it is followed by a ‘gaze’, that is). And yet I was kind of curious about Our Raw Heart. Perhaps it was the excitement some of my colleagues expressed for the album, or what I had heard en passant about the band’s recent history, but I felt like I just had to listen to it.
It’s hard not to at least acknowledge the circumstances under which this album came to be. Guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt has had an almost lethal bout with acute diverticulitis, an extremely painful intestinal disease (google it, it’s far from pretty). This close encounter with death, no doubt a harrowing experience for him and everyone around him including his Yob band mates, as well as the following recovery, must have ignited a new spark within the trio, because Our Raw Heart is an astoundingly diverse, creative, and emotive piece of doom metal.
Many of Yob’s defining musical elements remain intact even after this perceived reinvigoration. At its very core, Our Raw Heart is a doom metal record; that much should be pretty obvious. The band’s sound has, however, always displayed hints at and influences from a myriad of other things. There are elements of sludge metal present in some of the more meaty moments on the album; likewise, there’s a certain stoner-esque or even Mastodonian, psychedelic flair to certain parts. I would even go as far as to spot a pinch of death-doom within the record’s DNA. You see, there’s more to Our Raw Heart and Yob in general than the overarching doom denominator would have you believe, even though the defining tropes (lenghty songs, slow tempos, et cetera) are very much checked off.
There are two songs I’d like to give special note to here, namely “The Screen” and “Beauty In Falling Leaves”. Not because they’re my favorites on Our Raw Heart (at least that’s the case with the former; the latter very much is), but because they, out of the album’s seven tracks, provide the best contrast of styles when set against each other. “The Screen” is by far the most basic and unadorned of the bunch, but it is inhabited by a raw, primal energy that manifests itself in the stomping main riff and slight death-doom edge it carries especially in its final third. On the flipside, “Beauty In Falling Leaves” is the album’s beautiful, emotional, and psychedelic highpoint. Its slow, deliberate build-up, bubbling bass sound, jammy guitar solos, and grippingly passionate hook line help it balance out the more brutish tendencies of the aforementioned track.
Without dragging my portion of this review out any longer than I absolutely have to, let me sum up what I’m trying to express through it. Our Raw Heart, in focussing on dynamics and the cohesion between the different styles it takes on, is a well-rounded record that should in time hold a special place in Yob’s discography, its origin story notwithstanding.
Personal Score: 8/10
Overall Score: 8.25 / 10
Notable Tracks: “Our Raw Heart”, “The Screen”, “Original Face”
FFO: Isis, Neurosis, Scientist