Yob Song by Song: Ether


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.


Live Review: Damnation Festival 2016

Damnation Festival wasn’t an event I was aware of until Hang The Bastard announced they would be on the 2016 lineup playing their last ever gig. The rest of the lineup, consisting of 26 other bands across four stages, looked good, but Hang The Bastard were the act we bought tickets and drove 200 miles for. After the fun drive up to Leeds and joining the swarm of battle jackets outside the venue at the student union we caught Svalbard on the Terrorizer stage, whose cold, tremolo–picked post–hardcore was a good angry start.

After Hang The Bastard’s set at Holy Roar X in May a band member told me that they would be playing another gig with both vocalists performing. As they took to the Jägermiester stage black metal shrieker Tomas Hubbard was sighted but not original vocalist Chris Barling, hardcore yeller extraordinaire. I don’t like to say it, but their set turned into mush and ultimately fell flat. I stand by my earlier sentiment that Barling was the better vocalist for them, and was glad to have seen them as such at Holy Roar X.

After a blast of death metal from Venom Prison on the Terrorizer stage everyone and their grindcore sideproject shuffled into the basement to the Mine stage for Employed To Serve, who played a set that was a magic triangle of mental, caustic and catchy.

Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas put on an intense and immersive performance of Mariner on the Jägermeister stage, accompanied a great light show.

Although Black Tusk’s sound on the Eyesore Merch stage was a bit too reverb–heavy, much the same as their sound at their set at The Boston Music Room on Thursday 3/11, their energetic performance of high–energy songs was great and I really enjoyed their set of motorbike anthems.

I’m generally not a big fan of black metal – I generally prefer bands who mix it up with something else (Alcest, Deafheaven, Kvelertak, Wolfmangler) – so I found Abbath, on the Jägermiester stage, wholly unremarkable. My friends said that it was a pretty sloppy performance. I couldn’t tell. I don’t care. Back to the Terrorizer stage, and Enslaved, on the other hand, was a rewarding mix of black metal and prog.

I missed Ingested, but I did manage to get a guest review from a super enthusiastic hesher in the line heading out of the Mine stage:

MDFF: Did Ingested just play?

Hesher: Ingested were awesome, absolutely brilliant, I have no musical talent but you can just tell how good they are as musicians.

MDFF: …I’m sure you do, y’know, everyone has a talent –

Hesher:  – No, no, I have no musical talent, I work in I.T, but Ingested were awesome.

Needless to say, he was very happy and super enthusiastic. I took him for his word.

Back up all the stairs to the Jägermeister stage to catch Electric Wizard. They only played around three songs, but these were the best three songs of the day. It was deep, barrelling, hazy and hypnotic doom, and I would have gladly listened to another set of it, and then another.

Despite the band I bought the ticket being a bit of a let down, it was more than made up, particularly by Electric Wizard, Cult for Luna and Black Tusk. A good day of damnation.

Yob Song by Song: Aeons

Catharsis cover art

Five seconds of silence. Ten seconds of silence. 30 seconds. One minute. Drums begin to creep. A low, spacious bass line trundles along landing with the kick. Thick guitars waver; vibrato, wah, the note choice, all make for a bluesy intro, crawling in like the neighbour’s pet mamba that disappeared from its tank a few days ago.

With the explosion of distortion this crawl turns into a slow, consuming roll. This is music you can see, smell, taste and feel. The guitar tone, thick as treacle and just as slow, combined with the reverb–heavy vocals, conjures a surreal, dream–like quality. Besides the nasal Ozzy–isms and contrasting roaring, Scheidt also deploys a little trick of whispering, then roaring his guts out. Similarly, the wah sounds like it’s breathing in your ear. Don’t be fooled by the distortion; this is a psychedelic song, the heart of the song laying in the lines

Inner sleep
Crushing aeons to dust

It refers to a spiritual epiphany, describing the centring of the soul in meditative terms:

Regain the space
The ageless expanse
The gateless entrance
Inside me

Fittingly, just before the ten minute mark (I wasn’t sure what to call this part of the song; post–verse?) it lightens up, gets all bluesy, using a extension of the descending end part of the main riff to transition from 4/4 and distorted to 3/4 and palm–muted wah via a bass interlude, descending back into the distortion two minutes later.

Yob approached this album with their own sound already in place – you can just tell it’s them – and added a few touches. I’ve heard the remastered version, and I’ve not managed to find a confirmed original recording, but this article here reckons I can sleep easy. Indeed, the more I listen to it the more the word pleasing comes to mind. Upon its release in 2002 Catharsis was apparently Yob’s break–out moment, and I can see why. This song crushes the aeon of 18 minutes into dust.

Review ‘Em All: Inter Arma, Paradise Gallows


Bought from Amoeba Records, Haight Street. San Francisco you are spoilt! The best music shop I have ever been in.

Metal informed by the lore of dragons, wizards and vikings tends to rely on a traditional songwriting formula and lyrical themes, and unless performed convincingly there often isn’t much sense of adventure or engaging story–telling about it. Yeah, Amon Amarth are OK, but anyone’s favourite band? (Go on, prove me wrong). Although Inter Arma ostensibly are not that kind of metal, the scope of and variation between styles within Paradise Gallows makes it one of those albums that tells a story, in the same manner of Oceanic or even School’s Out. In this case it’s a sprawling, solemn adventure story, standing at 70 minutes, more Southern Gothic than fantasy and lyrically concerned with the hubris and futility of humanity (just look at the artwork). The move between styles, from melancholic country to death metal to doom and onward and back again, makes a listen to Paradise Gallows an undertaking of the best kind.

The plucked, singled acoustic notes of Nomini turn on a penny into a big, twin guitar solo that David Gilmour would love. One and a half minutes later An Archer Into The Emptiness clatters in with blast beats, pinging ride hits, blocky chugged chords and cavernous death growls, with a pinch harmonic snuck in here and there. Transfiguration is a neat demonstration of Inter Arma’s ability to draw on a mix of styles to create something distinctive; with the drums pummelling away it isn’t a slow track, but the amount of space in the guitars and the echoing quality  of the vocals means it’s not a heads–down thrasher. A strange but effective combination. And when the high–pitched black metal shriek comes in it’s freaky music to be listening to in the growing dark. The slow blocky chugging of next track Primordial Wound turns from echoing and clean–sung vocals into cries, with the guitars bursting into a tumbling doom lurch. The Summer Drones, despite the imperative feel of the loudspeaker FX on the intro vocals, brings a slightly stoner, and, suitably, droning feel to the mix. Potomac goes full–on wig out during the guitar solo, which is most of the song; I’d be very surprised if guitarists Trey Dalton and Steve Russell didn’t name David Gilmour as a major influence. Eponymous track The Paradise Gallows slides from post–rock into doom, but even then the melodies suggest a dark country music. Violent Constellations shifts between death and black metal before dooming out seven and a half minutes in, then plays a skronky melody replete with whammy bar squeals. And then it’s back to that sparse acoustic guitar, this time with dusty baritone vocals and a harmonium (a type of organ, it turns out) for closing track Where The Earth Meets The Sky, a dark country ode to an unnamed, guiding but ever–distant force of nature. The point of all this is that each song feels more like a chapter rather tracks #1–9 of generic doom album.


I didn’t like Inter Arma when I first heard 2013’s Sky Burial, and wrote them off as critical darlings, but was tempted to give Paradise Gallows a listen by the possibility of it sounding anything like how Orion Landau’s artwork looks.

Mixing styles can be effective, but isn’t an end in itself (Hayseed Dixie’s best material is not their bluegrass covers of classic rock numbers, but their originals). Rather, it’s a case of the opposite; Inter Arma have the songwriting ability to push their songs into different areas whilst keeping their songs cohesive.


One of my lasting impressions of this album, despite the strong doom influence, is one of space. Bookending the album with plaintive, yearning country, a sound associated with rootlessness, renders upon a scope unfathomable a world of a breadth and nature that leaves those upon its surface scattered bearers of isolation. The best albums create their own worlds whilst coming to shape a listener’s view of this one, and the more I listen to Paradise Gallows the bigger the world becomes.


Inter Arma = During War


Review ‘em All: Fallujah, Dreamless



Although Fallujah’s third album Dreamless was released back in April, I’m reviewing it now as a) death metal with a lot of technical playing isn’t usually my cup of tea/beverage of choice, and this is a highly honourable exception b) it’s cool to be late to the party.

Before I heard a single note, my first impression of Fallujah was that they were generic. My bias was partially fuelled by them being on the roster of Nuclear Blast, traditionally a stronghold of bands with a strong sense of the market they fall into, tried–and–tested and often slightly old–fashioned (whether you think that’s good thing or not) in comparison to the rosters of labels like those of Relapse, Southern Lord or Profound Lore. Furthermore, and maybe this wasn’t the case at first, but certainly by 2016, in being named and defined as ‘technical’, the implication is that whatever type of music it is being applied to (although I’m yet to hear of any type of music except for metal which has a ‘technical’ subgenre) has at some point confused performance with deliverance, ultimately losing all sense of soul. The five musicians who make up Fallujah clearly can play – and that they do – but what compelled me to listen to the whole of Dreamless (and continues to compel) was not ‘this is a good technical exercise from a musician’s point of view’, but, completely surprised by its melodicism, not being able to get single The Void Alone out of my head.

Pulsing, asymmetric riffs with bursts of double kick are matched with reverberating, ringing guitar lines, an abundance of spacious interludes and the snappy growls of vocalist Alex Hofman alternate with ethereal, high–register clean singing of guest vocalist Tori Letzler. This approach is true across the whole of Dreamless, with guest vocals from Letzler and Katie Thompson of prog rockers Chiasma on 7 of the 12 tracks. This pairing of heaviness and weightlessness, besides providing the contrast that a lot of death metal (whether technical or old school) lacks, combines with a lyrical preoccupation upon what waits beyond this life to provide a sense of story–telling momentum. A constant tension between an existential oppression found within this life, and the search for the higher realms of the next life, drive the album. These ontological lyrics, paired with these contrasting sections, at times seem a metaphor for the various twists and turns in the narrator’s musings upon death. In particular, The Void Alone, following a spacious interlude accompanied by

Paradise awaits as I unfold
Bleeding days into the soil

slams back in with double kick and a riff to match. Likewise, The Prodigal Son revolves around a sense of abandonment, the Biblical story cast wider to bring in all of humanity, referring to children, men, fathers and mothers. In this this it is an inversion of the Biblical story, with this theme of abandonment underlining the entire album.

In a case of being more than the sum of parts, Fallujah’s technicality serves to elevate the mood of Dreamless to that of something beyond the everyday; playing which bursts through expectations of human ability more readily lends itself to a sci–fi bent (listen to – and read around – Meshuggah and Wormed for two other good examples). A common criticism of technical bands is that their playing is ultimately generic, indistinguishable from the band that came before and the inevitable next one who play just that little bit faster. In this case, Fallujah’s technicality endows them with part of their own sound, rather than becoming something they are beholden to. Despite this review already containing the word ‘technical’ seven times, this is death metal which is technical but shouldn’t be defined as such. The more predictable (for lack of a better word) comparisons that come to mind are to Cynic, Atheist, and, big words indeed, Death. The guitar solo on Dreamless reminded me of Guthrie Govan, and although this solo is a guest spot from Tymon Kruidenier (of ambient jazz fusion band Exivious), this still indicates the sound and style that Fallujah are aiming for. The choice of guitarists Scott Carstairs and Brian James to use standard tuning on seven string guitars gives their playing a zip and a ping alongside the heft of that low B, and the tone in The Prodigal Son and Dreamless, clean with a touch of overdrive through an amp, sets a foot in jazz fusion territory. More surprising comparisons I found myself drawing, particularly on Abandon, were to The Cure and U2, partially through the regular use of chorus and delay effects to create a spaciousnessSuitably, Peter Mohrbacher’s artwork combines the familiar with the celestial, a giant anthropoid enclosing a world within its chest even as it dissolves into the surrounding sweeps of stars and clouds. On a semantic point, I did find myself wondering why Fallujah decided to call this album Dreamless, given its cerebral nature and philosophical musings; Dream does sound a bit strange, until thought of in the imperative rather than as a noun.

As mentioned, I feel compelled to continue listening to Dreamless, to follow its twists, turns and questions. Given the sense of wonder it moves with and imparts, perhaps its melodicism is its lynchpin, but I think where Fallujah distinguish themselves is in the balance they strike. Cynic, Atheist, Death, and, big words indeed, Fallujah.


Review ‘em All: Gojira, Magma


Not entirely sold on the Moonface artwork.

Although I am no longer convinced that Gojira are the second coming of metal (Metallica = the first), I still went out of my way to buy a copy of their sixth album Magma the day it came out. I did have criticisms of Gojira’s last album L’Enfant Sauvage, mainly that it felt linear and closer in scope to 2001’s Terra Incognita than a progression from 2008’s The Art of Dying. With time I’ve tempered that opinion in realising that L’Enfant is still a decent record – in particular, Mouth of Kala sounds like a cave in – but not the revelation that From Mars to Sirius and The Art of Dying were. So, perhaps to an unreasonable extent, I’m stacking a lot of chips on Magma.

Opening track The Shooting Star enters with one of Gojira’s mid–paced, churning riffs, but the first real point of note is that the opening vocals on Magma are clean. Starting the album like this is a symbolic declaration of Gojira continuing to evolve, away from death metal – although there are still elements of this multi–tentacled beast – into whatever they are now. This progression, which I suspect time will prove to be ongoing, is matched by the opening line

on the first light of the day you march on
departure has arrived
don’t look back.

I was unsure about the clean vocals at first, but with repeat listens they’ve grown on me. Silvera starts with a left–turning, bouncing riff that I found myself thinking of as ‘semi–thrash’, and Joseph Duplantier mixes his shouting with clean singing. It also contains not one but two squiggly tapping riffs, and fourth track Stranded incorporates another calling card of Gojira, unexpected noises (whale calls, wooden percussion, wind chimes) this time through the flanged, jangly chorus, which had me thinking, ‘Well, this certainly isn’t metal’, but then Joe Duplantier goes and roars his guts up everywhere and then sings clean as a whistle (no whistling though) in the interlude.

My pitch for this review, as you have probably figured out, is that Gojira are changing and have reached a tipping point. So it’s nice, amongst all the heavy thinking about vocal approaches, song structures and plectrum thickness, to hear what could only be Jean–Michel Labadie’s crunching bass tone on the obligatory instrumental (track number #5 this time round), Yellow Stone. It moves at a stately place, and, of all bands, actually reminded me of Mogwai. It was then even better to hear the next track, my notes for which were: ‘Magma. I have just heard the guitar make new noises.’ Following reverberation riffs and chanted vocals, at the song’s midpoint there is a Ride The Lightning riff that Metallica never got around to writing.

With time, I came to feel that The Art of Dying and L’Enfant Sauvage could have both done with trimming (From Mars to Sirius is fucking perfect). Magma feels concise in comparison, with only ten tracks to the twelve or thirteen on each of their preceding albums and the average song length standing at four minutes and 40 seconds. The longest song, Magma, is relatively short at 6.42. This album is more mid–paced, in addition to the song structures being a little more conventional. This is definitely Gojira’s most accessible album to date, a large part of which is due to the clean vocals. That said, there were also several points on this album that started a one man moshpit in front of my stereo.

This album prompted me to go back to Terra Incognita and listen through their discography to really understand how Gojira have progressed. Listening to each of these six albums, I hear the same band…but different. I apologise for making the comparison once again, but like Metallica, they’ve changed on each album. After several weeks of listening, my impression of Magma is that songs stand out (my favourite being Magma) rather than it being a stand–out album, but in saying this almost feel spoilt for choice; Magma is not Gojira’s best, but it’s still an album I’d be proud to have created and it’s still causing one man pits in front of the stereo.


Yob Song by Song: Asleep in Samsara

asleep in samsara

The circle of riff/life

The definition of ‘Samsara’, although seemingly as subject to variation as any other philosophical term, is roughly the concept of all life and existence moving through cyclical change. One definition I found (via the internet, mind you) was ‘cycle of aimless drifting, wandering or mundane existence’. Although I don’t think it’s aimless, nor mundane, and is a bit too heavy to think of as ‘drifting’, Asleep in Samsara does fittingly conjure the sense of meandering along through its 17 minutes.

Throat chanting, panning left to right and back again repeatedly, is joined by a fluttery, slow–funk wah guitar. A bell rings lightly. The wah riff drops the wah, stamps on the fuzz box, is joined by the rhythm section, and plays that same riff for over 11 minutes, with a couple of variations. This heavy repetition and sluggish pace leaves little to say about Asleep In Samsara in terms of technical aspects or specific characteristics. Although this main section bridges into a slow galloping riff after 13 minutes, accompanied by an unsourced quote that posits ‘Religion is a poison’, the appeal of this song lies in how it bubbles away, the sense of tectonics shifting, and of a power lurking just beneath this surface, helped no end by the tactile guitar tone.

One effect of listening to a lot of heavy metal, which, let’s not forgot, most people think is weird music, is that sometimes the notion of a song actually lasting for 17 minutes is taken for granted. Like how the preceding track Pain of I is too ugly a song to introduce someone to Yob with, Asleep in Samsara is too long a song to win over a potential fan, and admittedly patience is required to enjoy how long Yob take sometimes. As mentioned, this track is one to be swept along with and sunk into, rather than be looked to for a sense of pace or push and pull, and in this way it defies being pored over. Many of Yob’s long(er) songs derive from a search for meaning, but I think with this one it was a case of we’ve got a sweet riff or two, it’s the last track, there’s no hurry, let’s have fun.

And thus concludes Elaborations of Carbon: something simple in its base form taken beyond into something complex and deep. Compared to later albums, it’s a little more bluesy in the Master of Reality sense of the word, with none of the big, sad songs that Yob would place on later albums. It’s a bit raw, and overly longer at points, but nonetheless a distinctive and idiosyncratic album. Next up: Aeons, the first track of album #2, Catharsis.



Yob Song by Song: Pain of I

Despite its cabbalistic subject matter, and being 17 minutes long, Revolution is one of Yob’s groovier, lighter songs, bluesy rather than doomed. So I imagine Yob felt the need to pour the muck back in with the crackling distortion and recurring minor thirds and perfect seconds of Pain of I. The vocals enter not with a word but with a roar, and the song centres around that dissonant intro riff. It is ugly, played loose and rough to the point of sludginess, and is placed here to contrast with the preceding Revolution. This is really emphasised by the soloed slow ‘n’ low distorted bass that enters after a stretch of silence, following the root notes of the chromatic riff.

Although the difference between doom and sludge is blurred, with a lot depending on that abstract concept of ‘feel’, there is a consistent difference in their desired effects; a little wiser, a little sombre? Doom. Seeking alcohol and feeling filthy? Sludge. The grace present in so much of Yob’s playing is absent from Pain of I ; this is the ugly, rough track of the album, and is fittingly titled. Ironically, given that ‘I’ is used in the context of ‘I and I’, referring to the philosophical concept of the connection between all living things, I would not use it to convince someone to listen to more of Yob.


Yob Song By Song: Revolution

We have been brought up to experience ourselves as isolated centres of awareness and action placed in a world that is not us, that is foreign, alien, other, which we confront. Whereas in fact, the way an ecologist describes human behaviour, is as an action; what you do is what the whole universe is doing at the place we call here and now. You are something the whole universe is doing in the same way a wave is something that the whole ocean is doing. This is not what you might call a fatalistic or deterministic idea. You see, you might be a fatalist if you think that you are a sort of puppet which life pushes around. You are separate from life but life dominates. That’s fatalism.

Heavy music inspires people to headbang, throw the horns, start a pit, cut the sleeves off denim jackets and sew Motörhead patches onto denim jackets, but there’s not a lot of metal which truly inspires meditation. Doom metal – which let’s not forget, is named after the concept of the cessation of existence – is the genre most explicitly connected to existential pain. Ever since Ozzy first wailed about that figure in black most heavy bands have had quite a glum take on things (notable exception: Torche), but the best doom bands have tended to be the ones who have channelled this sense of suffering through a philosophical desire to understand why it is taking place. Scheidt’s interest in Eastern mysticism has steered Yob’s music and lyrics towards a more positive, new age take on this trope, and whilst the three songs covered thus far have suggested this, Revolution underlines it.

After what is essentially a five minute introduction, with two layers of guitar shifting like sand dunes, it drops into a solitary track of wah guitar before a single snapping snare drum kicks it back in and Scheidt declares ‘Oh yeahhhhh/Alllrighttt’, and off we go; we’re on a journey here.

The lyrics, even with some furrowed brow listening, are largely indiscernible. What I could make out (‘…brand new way…all the demons in my mind…truth…I feel the ground beneath me…you cannot see what is going down…time we have a revolution, yeah…revolution, yeah yeah’) wasn’t particularly poetic, nor did it provide much narrative sense. The only word that initially comes through clearly is ‘Revolution’, which is a broad, and in many ways, abstract phrase. If anything, it seems a little as though it’s pandering to the lowest common denominator; ‘revolution’ sounds cool, right? Turn up, tune down, play slow, smoke this, and the revolution will begin. The atmosphere of the song goes some way in alleviating this – after all, there are great songs with less than great lyrics (…Megadeth) – but when placed within the context of the next section they are invested with a deeper meaning.

After an echoing, wah–inflected solo, the track descends through a swung, descending riff into feedback, then the solitary track of wah guitar comes back in. A synth that sounds as though it may have been pilfered from The War of The Worlds enters, then a clip of philosopher Alan Watts quoting the above passage from his book Tao of Philosophy, positing on the connection between all living beings and the world, underpinning Yob’s leanings towards a new age, spiritual perspective. Among shimmering guitars it concludes a whole minute later with a slower, triumphant variation of the main riff in 2/4 crashing; enlightenment arriving via amplitude. That this interlude doesn’t arrive until 12 minutes is what makes this song work. It has been built up to, the listener journeying along with the song before wisdom is found.

I found myself wondering why so much doom metal and its variant of stoner metal is made up of long songs. There is an obvious correlation between songs being slow and taking longer to finish – speed is equal to distance divided by time – but I think there is more to it than that. Songs of these lengths (the average Yob song is 9 minutes and 55 seconds long) by their nature ask that they are listened to in the moment, that past and future are discounted for what is within that present moment; they become their own world. Yob are not the only doom band to play long songs slowly (Sleep’s Dopesmoker is known for being an hour long), but at least on an implicit level they seem to understand the subtext of playing in this style, which some doom bands do not. I am no Zen master, but from my understanding, this centring of the present moment can be a form of meditation. These riffs draw you in, looking inwards before outwards. The titular revolution is one of the mind.

Yob Song By Song: Clear Seeing

'8vb' means play an octave lower than notated.

‘8vb’ means play an octave lower than notated. And don’t forget the distortion and chorus.

Oh gawd, that bass riff. Detuned to drop A#, heavy on the chorus with a bit of distortion, meshing with big, laid back 4/4 drums that hold off the snare until the third beat, to my ears this is the first sign of Yob’s real potential. And what is it that they are clearly seeing? The lyrics describe some kind of enlightenment, starting with

In control of the mind
Thoughts are getting clear now

with a few ‘Oh yeahs!’ thrown into to compliment the bluesy groove. The vocals stick to the Ozzy and Geddy–esque style throughout, and this number is more conventionally structured than the other tracks on this album (roughly intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, interlude, guitar solo, re–intro, verse, chorus, outro) and is the second shortest track at 7.25 (we will come onto the shortest track, and why it is so, Pain of I, in a bit). The drums are solid, the snare in particular sounding massive, and post–wah guitar solo there is lovely use of space which doubles up to re–introduce that riff. And when it ends, it ends tightly with no feedback or fallout.

Information on Yob’s various rhythm sections over the years is hard to come by beyond names, but as Yob very much seems to be Scheidt’s fiefdom this doesn’t come as a surprise. Isamu Sato is listed as the bass guitarist in the sleeve notes, but as one Lowell Isles is credited for ‘past bass riffage’ I’m not sure who wrote this line. However, Sato, who presumably played the recorded line, is clearly no slouch. If you are listening to Yob for the first time, going through their songs chronologically, I imagine this would be the moment when you realise what Yob can really do.