Yob Song by Song: Ether

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Ether. Def. /’eeth[e]/ noun | an inflammable liquid that vaporizes readily, used esp as a solvent and formerly as a general anaesthetic: formula C[2]H[5]0C[2]H[5] b any of various organic compounds characterised by an oxygen atom attached to two alkyl groups. 2 literary the clear blue sky or upper regions of the atmosphere. 3 a medium formerly held to permeate all space and transmit electromagnetic waves >> etheric /ee’therik/adj. [Middle English via Latin from Greek aithēr, from aithen to ignite, blaze] [1].

For a song that shares a title with the etymological root of ‘ethereal’, and following the slow roll of AeonsEther is unexpectedly quick, straight out of the gate with a choppy riff at 128bpm and a gruff ‘Yeah!’ Half a minute later it transitions into a mid–paced verse with four snare hits per bar, one on each crotchet at 80bpm. Although – or maybe because – this is one of Yob’s faster songs, these verses feel laboured. Gabe Morley’s usually well–paced drumming begins to drag, the snare plodding along with each downstroke. So the guitar break after the second chorus, heavy on the wah and flanger, and as much funk as anything else, is an unexpected and very cool move; I can take or leave the awkward mid–paced verses, but this break makes the song for me. It leads into a variation of the same riff, but the alteration in phrasing, drum beat and effects makes it a clever, seamless and not particularly obvious continuation.

Suitably, given this unexpected pairing, the opening line is ‘Inside two worlds explode’, although it’s unlikely Scheidt is referring to the merging of funk and metal. Instead, lyrically, things we experience individually – hate, ecstasy, pain – collide with forces of nature – glaciers, the planet, the sun. I couldn’t decide whether the narrator was on earth, crushed by an apocalyptic setting into a frozen life (‘Enthralled with ice and snow/Glacial rivers of compressed hate’) or voyaging through space, too far gone to even be able to see our sun;

Awake in ageless time
No place to call home
Searching the expanse for a sign
Never will i see the sun again

In this, two recurring, key themes of Yob are presented; oppressive weight and an expansive psyche. This is an interesting pairing, given the contrasting nature of the two concepts, but by no measure is it unique to Yob; doom metal has been asking philosophical questions since Ozzy asked who that figure in black was. Yob differentiate themselves in that most doom bands tend to be forever falling, drawn into the darkness; Yob also remember to look upwards, permeating all of space.

 

[1] Penguin Complete English Dictionary.

 

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