Yob and the Beginning of the Cessation

This you need.When Eugene, Oregon, trio Yob broke up after releasing their second Metal Blade album, The Unreal Never Lived, in 2005, it was devastating to the doom community at large. One of the truly original bands in their generation, with memorable riffs, ponderously slow rhythms and the unique wails and screams of vocalist/guitarist/principal songwriter Mike Scheidt, it was more than a shame to see them go — particularly after that album, which might have been their heaviest yet. For anyone who?s ever heard 2003?s Catharsis, that?s saying something.

The events that transpired in the wake of Yob?s demise are well documented; the formation and signing to Metal Blade of Scheidt?s new band, Middian, whose album, Age Eternal, took on a new direction from Yob only to be stifled by a lawsuit from a Milwaukee local band with a trademark on the name, though they spelled it with a single ?d,? as in, ?Damn, that?s a shitty thing for one band to do to another.? Unceremoniously dismissed by their label, Middian became Age Eternal and now has a questionable future, but in the meantime, Scheidt?s reformation of Yob last year with drummer Travis Foster and new bassist Aaron Reiseberg, their signing to hotshot Canadian indie Profound Lore and now the triumphant release of their returning opus, The Great Cessation — well, I don?t think it could have been planned any better. They even got a new logo courtesy of northwestern mainstay Aaron Edge (guitar in Himsa, Iamthethorn; drums in Tad Doyle?s Brothers of the Sonic Cloth). All is as it should be, or so it would seem.

Pointy, like the album.If there was rage to be channeled out of the difficulties Scheidt has faced in the allegedly simple work of making music, then it can be heard on The Great Cessation, which departs from the spacey spiritualism of its predecessor to a more worldly lyrical approach, and a dark one at that. Yob always had sparse moments of respite in their chaotically crushing doom, and The Great Cessation does show the melodicism progressed and pushed to new avenues, but this. Shit. Is. Heavy. 12-minute opening cut ?Burning the Altar? gets underway with a monster groove, a monster scream and culminates with guitar triplets that rival those that brought ?The Mental Tyrant? from The Unreal Never Lived to its close. In a way, they?re answering them, but it?s clear immediately with Scheidt?s clean vocals that ?Burning the Altar? and The Great Cessation is no mere retread of past glories.

It doesn?t need to be. One imagines Scheidt wouldn?t have gotten this band back together under this name if he didn?t have something to say with it. The lyrics in ?The Lie that is Sin? may be cryptic — ?Frozen fields of ice ideals that chill like winter with visions from birth branded thrilled to enthrall the death of it all? as an example — but as a companion for the surprising direction the music takes (just when you expect it to get heavy at 2:43, the song turns left into another build), they fit excellently. One of the faster tracks on The Great Cessation, ?The Lie that is Sin? makes a memorable chorus of the line, ?What always was always will be will be no one all will remain only I? — no easy feat — and locks in several epic guitar lines brought to the fore by the production of Sanford Parker, whose neo-wall of sound is a perfect match for Yob?s massive riffs. With each changing movement, The Great Cessation proves the band?s high place among this ending decade?s doom canon.

Unafraid to toy with audio obliteration, the war-themed ?Silence of Heaven? burns agonizingly slow and seems more like 9:49 of punishment than an actual song. ?For virtue, for mercy, for holiness we destroy,? Scheidt echoes into a great emptiness felt just as much within as without. The inaccessibility of the track is perhaps the best pairing of music Mr. Scheidt in action. (Photo by Paula Rhodes)and lyrics on The Great Cessation, since its eclipsing madness, absurdity and despair are so clearly expressed throughout. There is a brief pause before the beginning of ?Breathing from the Shallows,? and for good reason. Opening with a streaming guitar line, Yob bring their listeners back to sea level after the long plunge of ?Silence of Heaven? with a scathing lyrical attack and interplay of clean and screamed vocals. The solo that begins at 2:14 might be the most demonstrative on the album, though ?Breathing from the Shallows? is the shortest cut at a mere 7:36, there?s plenty of time for thunderous stop-start fits in its latter half, leading to a riff I?ve come to think of as the Chewbacca of guitar lines in that it?s seven feet tall and will tear your arms right off.

If Yob has a trademark beyond their underlying space doom style, it?s the grand finale, and with The Great Cessation, it comes in the form of the 20:35 title track which unfolds slowly over the course of its runtime and feels less bent on heaviness (that having already been well delivered by the opener and everything since) than creating a mood and atmosphere of decay. It sounds the way Cormac McCarthy?s The Road reads. Scheidt keeps a clean vocal for the duration and an overwhelming sadness and regret pervades with the soaring melodic approach. Middian covering ?My War? this ain?t. Perhaps purposefully contradicting The Unreal Never Lived?s aforementioned planet-eating close, ?The Great Cessation? drives slowly to a finish beginning contemplative and culminating in feedback noise. Like the rest of the track or the circumstances under which the entire album came about, it?s not what was expected, but it might have been what needed to be done for the band to grow.

It was clear from the outset Yob?s return was going to lead to one of the best albums of 2009. Well, that?s pretty much how it went down. The Great Cessation pushes everything the band has done before to a new level of experience and only confirms that everyone was so right to mourn when they broke up the first time. If this is what we?d have missed out on by their not getting back together, I?m sure as shit glad they did. This is necessary.

Yob on MySpace

Profound Lore Records

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2 Responses to “Yob and the Beginning of the Cessation”

  1. DamagedMike says:


    This a truly excelent album.

    Great review.

  2. Aaron Edge says:

    ? Great post, thanx for the mention… it’s always amazing working with Mike and Travis. This new record is insane!

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