Grasping Air makes me think of being a cave with no light. Everything about this song is on edge, pervaded with unspeakable dread. The reverberating guitar intro sets teeth on edge before leading into a deadly, crawling riff. Alongside Travis Foster’s skillful drumming maintaining a sense of momentum even at this consistently slow pace, it is also one of my favourite performances by Scheidt. He has described himself as ‘[…] not the most polished guitar player’¹, but in terms of feel he is one of the best. (His statement should be taken with a pinch of salt anyway). Case in point; listening to this song, I had a smart ass theory about what he was playing, but when it actually came up to picking up a (bass) guitar and playing along, it turned out most of the time he’s just playing one chord, a dirty ol’ A tritone. He plays it in such an expressive way that it creates the aforementioned motion and tension, rather than it turning into Another Stoner Odyssey Based On One Chord.
As for the title. If Grasping Air is the action of someone trying and failing not to fall, an instinctive act produced by terror, it means trying to take hold of something that’s not there. In light of the lyrics, and Yob’s general shtick, I read this title as a metaphor for the misconception of reality. And now you’re probably thinking, does organised religion make an appearance? You betcha. Cue chorus:
Ancient wounds fester and bleed
Empty food from which they feed
Sustain the wealth
Subliminate the self
Create the suffering we need
In particular, this song approaches this subject matter from the angle of the cycle of dependency, the first line being ‘Entwine with despair like a lover’. Come to think of it, that’s not a bad description for doom. Is doom metal an organised religion? Either way, we are left in the dark. Dot dot dot.