July 18th, 2011

Yob Mini Feature In The New York Times.

Yob's recent NYC show & upcoming album reviewed by the New York Times.

Originally posted on July 14th 2011:
" There was Mike Scheidt, the guitarist and singer from the doom-metal trio Yob, at Le Poisson Rouge on Tuesday night. He was playing a pattern, long-form and superficially simple. Doom tends to stay slow and precise; he cycled a few chords, or sometimes only one, over and over.

With some doom bands there can be a kind of numb glory in pure, matte-finish repetition, but that wasn’t true here: the chords moved like a mamba snake, loaded with tonal variation. He kept their roots steady and slid his hand up and down the guitar neck, letting open strings ring dissonantly, turning a single stroke into a triplet, making small applications of wah pedal. He’s a performer with a slightly mystical faith in craft, thinking through it all.

He did several things at once, singing in grunts and high precise wails, working bits of melody and middle-register guitar cries into the music without breaking the flow of the chord riffs. But there was also a feeling of conscious restraint: he didn’t actually solo, in the usual sense, until nearly the end of the show. His chord repetitions were composed, micro-arranged, and they pulled you down, down, down; Mr. Scheidt uses a baritone-guitar tuning on a standard guitar, a perfect fifth lower than usual. You feel this music a lot; it’s body-centered, in its rhythm and its mass.

Yob, from Eugene, Ore., has made a new record, “Atma”; it requires you to lower your heart rate, then gives you delirious highs. (Profound Lore will release it on Aug. 16.) It’s the band’s sixth album in nine years and its second in three, which sounds like the pace of an intact band, except that it hasn’t been. It changed lineups, and broke up for a three-year stretch; some of its musicians had grown tired of touring. It now has more ex-members than current ones.

When I last saw Mr. Scheidt, 16 months ago in Ohio, he was clean shaven and playing a Gibson Les Paul; now he’s bearded with round glasses, playing a new guitar made by Brent Monson, with a Hindu om symbol inlay. It has a narrower, cleaner sound. (If you think switching guitars is of little consequence, you’ve got the wrong idea. Tone is everything in this music.) The band hadn’t played in New York in six years, and though doom metal is a sub-subculture, the Yob audience remains small but deep. The room was full of beards and veneration.

Even on this tour, with the band finally a going concern again, the regular drummer, Travis Foster, had to bail because of family commitments. He’s being subbed for, kind of heroically, by Rob Shaffer of Dark Castle, the band opening for Yob this summer. The challenges of doom-metal drumming might not be clear on record, simply because of the tempo. But if you saw Mr. Shaffer on Tuesday play two full sets of loud, balletic precision, you might place bets on whether he’ll make it all the way through Aug. 8, when the bands finish their tour at the Alibi in Arcata, Calif.

Dark Castle, originally from Florida, is a doom-metal duo; aside from Mr. Shaffer on drums, it’s all about Stevie Floyd, the singer and guitarist. She uses Eastern and ancient modes, and makes her sound oceanic, heavily echoed, like threatening weather. It’s clear how close Dark Castle’s interests intersect with Yob’s; Ms. Floyd uses a Monson guitar too, and guest-sang “Grasping Air,” the set’s closer, next to Mr. Scheidt. After that he walked the skirt of the stage, hugging several fans at a time. It seemed not just polite but necessary.
" -  Ben Ratliff

Atma will be available on August 16th via Profound Lore. Pre-order CD, single song or full album download HERE.

Tour dates with Dark Castle HERE.

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