Eugene, Oregon

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7/31/11 @ Emos, Austin, TX

After managing to conquer the previous night’s hangover (and it was brutal), I left my lair and hiked two blocks up Red River Street to catch what may be one of the most savage doom bands west of the Mississippi, YOB. Founded in Eugene, Oregon in 1996 by Guitarist/Frontman, Mike Scheidt, YOB first came to fruition on the national music scene in 2002 with their first release, Elaborations of Carbon. This album, coupled with their live show, created quite a stir on the underground. Amongst various stoner rock insiders, there was a great deal of gossip about a three-piece doom band allegedly capable of a merciless aural slaughter leagues above the rest. One’s first inclination after hearing a YOB record is – how in the world can a three-piece band re-produce this tsunami wall of sound live? I have seen YOB at least 10 times now in venues across the U.S. dating back to 2003 and each YOB performance seems to be more pummeling than the last. Their headlining performance at Emos in Austin, Texas on 07/31/11 would prove no different.

I arrived to a packed house just as Dark Castle were finishing their set (major fail - freak accident with the hair dryer), and immediately noticed there was not an equipment changeover. It was at this time I heard Rob Shaffer from Dark Castle would be pulling double duty and filling in for original YOB drummer, Travis Foster. Scheidt was armed with at least three Emperor 4x12 cabs and what appeared to be two custom made heads. It is possible they could have been Metropolis amps or even modified Marshalls with the logos removed. He was experiencing technical difficulties with one of the heads and opted to use a Sunn Model T in its place. Faces began melting the minute his pick initially touched the detuned strings. Aaron Reiseberg was playing a Gibson Thunderbird through a 70’s era Sound City 200 Plus head powering an 8x10 and a 2x15 cabinet. After all the levels were checked and it was determined the stage was not going to collapse due to the seismic rumbling from the stage, the Sunday night Sabbath was underway.

They opened with “Quantum Mystic” from the bands fourth release, Unreal Never Lived (2005, Metal Blade). Horns and hair were flying from the front of the room to the back and the energy created a steamy haze inches above the heads of those worshipping. “Quantum Mystic” led right into “Prepare the Ground”, the first song on the band’s latest release, Atma (2011, Profound Lore Records). After two songs, we are twenty minutes into the set \m/! The band then launched into, “Burning the Altar” from the band’s comeback album, The Great Cessation (2009 Profound Lore Records). Of interest, the band was declared dead in the water at a press release by Mike Scheidt on January 10, 2006. During this time, he started a new project, Middian, who you should check out if you haven’t already been subjected to them. In 2009, YOB re-vamped.
The crowd showing no signs of repenting and was given their next sermon titled “Atma”, the title cut off the new record. While the record still has not hit the streets, the crowd reacted with the enthusiasm of my high school English teacher at his first titty bar – hard as a rock, too drunk to drive home and broke as a joke. Skin shredding doom dealt out in Spades! The new song, while heavy and producing the trademark ethereal overtones, shows YOB branching out of their typical formula and utilizing a more advanced arrangement a la Neurosis. My guess is the upcoming release is going to exhibit a slight “maturation” and “experimentation” while still maintaining its ability to stiffen your neck after a go around. Upon announcing one more song, the band accelerated through “The Great Cessation”, the title cut from the 2009 release. Upon being beckoned back to the altar, YOB finished up their set with “Ball of Molten Lead” from The Illusion of Motion (Metal Blade 2004). Amongst many YOB enthusiasts, this is a clearly a catalog favorite.

In 2010, YOB made their first appearance in Europe at the Roadburn Music Festival and they appear to be taking major strides developing their fan base. Since 2003, the attendance at each show I’ve seen has doubled every time. Much like Sleep, High on Fire, Neurosis – YOB definitely helps carry the torch in their genre. If you haven’t yet seen them, I would recommend adding them to your bucket list as they are a “must see”.

-Melvin McMichaels

YOB is:

Mike Scheidt - Guitar, Vocals
Aaron Reiseberg - Bass
Travis Foster - Drums

Photos by Larry Stern



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