Review: YOB – Our Raw Heart
After four years, YOB has finally released a new album called Our Raw Heart, out now via Relapse Records. Described as the “second coming of Neurosis”, YOB has earned a reputation for delivering some of the finest stoner/doom metal around, but is that the case for Our Raw Heart?
“Ablaze” kicks the album off with a slow build which slightly increases in speed at the one minute mark, with the drums adding a repetitive beat to Mike Scheidt’s ghostly wail, occasionally changing into a very soft growl. Following on the heels of “Ablaze” is “The Screen”. This song starts off with a slow but prominent drum beat which complements the song’s swampy, sludgy guitar work. This all builds up to a crescendo almost two minutes in where Mike cries out “Rise!” repeatedly. Then the track settles into a groove similar to the first track, which is punctuated by Mike Scheidt’s repeated cries of “Rise!”, despite its repetitive nature the song has subtle aggression to it which makes you want to slowly bang your head.
“In Reverie” (track 3) leads off with a very quiet intro before jolting into jarring screams. Despite this abrupt transition, the song goes back into the familiar pattern established on the first two tracks of the album. Afterwards the listener is greeted with the instrumental “Lungs Reach” as track four. It’s a simple, yet striking bit of droning guitar that lasts for more than five minutes.
The album’s fifth track is the tranquil “Beauty in Falling Leaves”, at sixteen minutes long it is Our Raw Heart‘s longest song. Everything about this song is just right, it contains just the right balance of beauty and anguish. Following up this track is track six “Original Face”. While it’s not a fast song by any means, it is probably the fastest song on the album. Another thing of note about this track, is that it possess some of the album’s best guitar work, with the listener being treated to some mini solos throughout the duration. It’s also on this track where Mike Scheidt’s vocals remind me of Matt Pike’s.
Concluding the album is the album’s title track “Our Raw Heart”. The slow 14-minute closer simply churns away at the listener, washing upon you and slowly seeping in as the song gradually fades away into nothingness.
To judge Our Raw Heart as just another YOB album wouldn’t do it justice. When one considers that this album was written from the near death of Mike Scheidt from a painful intestinal disease, one will view this album as a deeply personal journey that invites the listener to partake in it. My only criticism of this album is that some of the tracks do sound the same at times, but for an album that is only seven tracks long, that isn’t too bad.