The Top 10 of 2009: Number One…

It was a hefty mountain of shit guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt had to climb to get to the point of putting out a new YOB record. After breaking up the band following 2005’s The Unreal Never Lived, his follow-up act Middian was sued by a shitbag local act of a similar name, effectively disbanding them. Abandoned by his label, Scheidt reformed YOB with drummer Travis Foster and new bassist Aaron Reiseberg, signed to Profound Lore and put out what I consider to be the best album of 2009: The Great Cessation.

They had split after releasing what was their high water mark, and with a string of quality albums preceding — 2004’s The Illusion of Motion, 2003’s Catharsis and 2002’s Elaborations of Carbon — a legacy was well in place. YOB‘s massive stone/drone doom made for some of the best metallic psychedelia of the decade, and for them to come back, harness and focus all the aggression of their prior output with an even more expansive breadth, was easily the listening highlight of the year. Even with the noise and crash of “Silence of Heaven,” which was near-unlistenable (and intentionally so), The Great Cessation proved to be the strongest and most powerful slab of cosmic doom the band has produced yet.

As if I could ever get the cadence of opener “Burning the Altar” out of my head. As if the prolonged agony of the closing title track didn’t present something different to my ears every single time I heard it. YOB may have grown in esteem following their breakup (absence makes the hip grow fonder?), but they sacrificed none of their unearthly heaviness with their comeback, compromised nothing of their sound and approach, even limiting their live appearances to exactly what they wanted them to be. With constant progression and unflinching creativity, The Great Cessation was simply the best record released this year. Here’s looking forward to the next one.

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