The Great Cessation

One of the foremost purveyors of the particularly heavy form of metal known as “Doom,” Eugene, Ore.’s YOB makes its triumphant return after a three-year hiatus with what might be the band’s most darkly introspective and sonically crushing album to date. YOB actually disbanded in 2006, after which frontman Mike Scheidt went on to form the equally pissed-off, but ultimately ill-fated Middian; on the eve of the release of the band’s debut full-length for Metal Blade, the band was sued successfully by some shitty bar band with the same name. Exit Middian, re-enter YOB. Musically, YOB is like a Black Sabbath record played at half-speed, with ridiculously detuned guitars circling patiently like vultures around drummer Travis Foster’s diabolically sludgy tempos. However, it’s when Scheidt’s vocals finally enter the fray, around three minutes into 12-minute album opener “Burning the Altar,” that the brutality finally commences. Vacillating between a being-burnt-at-the-stake caterwaul and a demonic growl, Scheidt takes YOB’s already black musical soul and turns it blacker. This record is not for the faint of heart; but at times the droning guitars and orthogonal riffs can be eerily beautiful, like watching a natural disaster from afar.