The Illusion of Motion

Every so often, an album is released that contains a markedly higher level of anticipation around it. Promises of a “groundbreaking” or a “genre-defining” effort are thrown around like so many empty words, as most people know that such promises rarely come to fruition. The latest such “big” album in the pipe is the next from Portland’s Yob, who made major waves with their last effort, Catharsis. Now signed to Metal Blade, and with a steady line-up finally in tow, everything was pointed towards a huge achievement in not just doom metal, but metal in general. AndThe doom genre (or any genre, really) is rife with imitators; almost always well intentioned, sometimes quite entertaining and accomplished, but never unique, never pioneering. That is not the case here, as I feel that metal has been re-shaped once again with the release of The Illusion Of Motion. Yob are blessed with the “magic formula,” a term that applies to that unexplainable yet unmistakable feeling of everything coming together at just the right time. Guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt found the perfect running mates with bassist Isamu Sato and drummer Travis Foster. All standout in their own personal way, but their individual projections mesh together perfectly and elevate the sound to yet another level. The vocals are especially unique, as they alternate between a slightly spaced, Ozzy Osbourne-meets-Geddy Lee (but not as nasally) higher pitch, and deep, distorted growls. You’d swear it was two different people, but it isn’t. The tone-rich guitar sound is augmented but the non-standard ‘doom’ playing, as it elevates into more progressive realms. Mike is well on his way to achieving a signature sound, along the lines of Greg Anderson (Goatsnake/sunn O)))) and Matt Pike (Sleep/High On Fire) if he hasn’t done so already. Isamu’s bass is deep and warm, and slightly spaced out. His playing is very “up” as well, and doesn’t plod along simply to make the song heavier. And Travis goes beyond simply keeping time, hitting hard but not

And the atmosphere is what makes this album so great. It draws you in, wraps you up tight, and takes over your mind and body for roughly an hour. The sound is amazing on the big stereo, but mixed well enough that it achieves another level of appreciation through headphones. My favorite moment occurs just over 8 minutes through the second track, “Exorcism Of The Host.” An absolutely epic guitar solo twists its way out of the darkness, making it one of those “oh yeah!” moments where you just know there isn’t anything better that you could possibly listen to right then. And while the last track goes beyond the 26 minute mark, you’d be hard pressed to notice. While some people might be usually against anything with a “doom”tag on it, they’d be doing themselves a disservice by avoiding this album. It doesn’t drag along, and is in no way boring.

It’s redundant to say that I’m happy with this record, but I am. Yob are a band that deserve the hype, and deserve a wider audience. They have joined the exclusive upper echelon of ‘heavy’ bands such as Goatsnake, Sons Of OTIS, and 5ive, in that they transcend their peers and are beyond common comparison. Yob are not a great doom metal band, nor a great metal band. They are a great band, period. Signing to Metal Blade was a great move for all involved, and metal fans are in for a treat.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Andy Shal
October 19th, 2004


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