Innovative and immense, YOB like to release long, thrashing sprawls, disseminating doom with zero compromise. Our Raw Heart speaks plain of the near-death experience of frontman Mike Schiedt, who praise the stars is still with us, bleeding the metal blood. Over seven very good tracks they play seventy-five minutes of heart-on-sleeve riffage. I honestly cannot wait.
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What you gonna do with this Yob? You gonna get the head banging and the hair swaying? You gonna send several hundred devil-horn emojis to unsuspecting friends? You gonna just say “Yob” over and over again because it’s a purely satisfying act? Yes, all that and more in praise and celebration of ‘Our Raw Heart’, the latest pummelling and encouraging joy doom from a band who narrowly escaped a tragedy recently and are ready to give it their goddamn all as revenge.
Frontman Mike Scheidt came into ‘Our Raw Heart’ having survived a recent battle with a fatal disease, and here he sounds like he’s gasping the bountiful treasure of life: metal’s best, most versatile vocalist, he sighs and growls his way through the low-end churn of “Ablaze”, offering a repeated melodic refrain that feeds everything else, as if replenishing the band with the strength they need to thrash out their doom, to give it their all. Even by Yob’s standards, it’s an absolutely massive song, opening without fanfare and simply delivering a ten-minute paean to the dangers and delights embedded into just existing.
I’ve read many a listener, metalhead or nah, talk up ‘Our Raw Heart’ as the first Yob record they’ve actively enjoyed. In a way, I can see why: this is their most accessible record on account of simply being their best yet, a record that never once switches off in its assimilation of euphoria and destitution. “The Screen” is one of the gnarliest metal songs I’ve ever heard, and whether or not you’re a metalhead who comes in on these more mainstream shenanigans, it’s hard to resist that stubborn, grumbling guitar, giving out riffs as respite from punishment.
Ever slow and crushing, there are points where I want to describe ‘Our Raw Heart’ as one long song, another bludgeoning entry into a genre that’s recently given us Bell Witch’s ‘Mirror Reaper’. While the guitars may change tone and temperament, just as Scheidt’s vocals go from heavy metal baiting to gruesome growl, this record feels like the most whole, complete, thoughtful thing they’ve made. It will get plaudits, and through sheer self-determination, it will deserve them.
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