In times of social decay, metalheads thirst for one specific strain of heavy music to level their peeking frustrations and fears simply by crushing them equal to all other feelings. Call it masochistic but with all the suffering in the world, being enveloped by riffs so heavy that your teeth tremble in your gums, actually treats the pain. So, give us heavy, crushing guitars. Give us slow riffs that stretch longer than life lines. Give us drums that crash like thunder in storms too thick to see through. Give us doom, impending, loud, and full of sorrow. Doom is the sonic version of the abyss we stare into and see our reflections in.
No American doom band today is quite as powerful live as Yob. Not since Saint Vitus has this subgenre seen such soul within it. I take plenty of bands into account when I make this bold verdict and if you disagree then leave me with my opinions to a solitary death and purple satin upholstered casket.
Doom lyrics in reviews aside, Church of the 8th Day booked another monstrous show with Yob, Acid Bath, and Chrch at the Teragram Ballroom. With Yob appearing in Los Angeles for the first time since releasing their 2018 album Our Raw Heart, it was a highly anticipated show.
Bathed in red lights and black clothes, Sacramento’s Chrch began the evening with a set that was textbook doom, bordering on drone, and absolutely poetry. With their singer, Eva Rose, concealing her face behind a black funeral veil that masked her shrieks, the band played slow, churning, fuzzy, massive riffs while the drums, played by Adam Jennings, pounded in faster, more diabolical rhythm. Eva slow-played her on-stage charisma, moving every appendage in such hallucinatory fashion you had to fix your eyes on her to catch every nuance. In a stroke of genius performing, Eva finally turned around to unwrap the black veil then turned back to the audience to reveal her angelic face, matching this sight with her heavenly melodic singing before returning to her signature shrieks. The set conjured up all sorts of crude images in my mind. One that could not escape me was chain mail, wrapped perhaps around a warrior’s corpse as it floats down a black river.
Acid King could headline any show and draw fuck tons of fans but this show was monumental enough to have them opening for Yob. A bit more on the stoner/sludge side of metal than doom, per say, Acid King has been flying the flag of fuzzed out, head-splitting riffs since 1993. Legendary band leader, singer, and guitarist, Loris S. is considered the queen of this entire genre. Their set was heavy, murky, and featured everything you want out of a stoner power trio. With more desert vibes than cemetery vibes, you could see clouds of smoke rising above the audience and these didn’t come for funeral pyres. Before things got raw and emotional during Yob, Acid King brought the trippy, heavy fun to it’s highest peak for the evening.
Why do I say Yob is the best American doom metal band since Saint Vitus, my favorite American doom metal band? It’s because unlike their peers, they have such a kinetic rhythm within that fuzzy, slow sound, you take-in the music like no other doom band. You can actually sleep to the music of some doom bands, no pun intended but such is not the case for these Oregonians.
There are many ways to present yourself on stage but Yob did so in the best way possible. No fancy lighting or visuals. Just three guys on stage with their amps and instruments. All they need to capture your imagination was the energy they’d create between the three of them and that energy was palpable. Singer Mike Scheidt seemed positively invigorated by the audience. Whether he was banging against his strings or dancing his fingers upon them, he did so masterfully but with perceived ease.
The power trio had unspeakably tight synergy and though it wasn’t quite fast enough to dance to, I don’t think I’ve ever been more riveted standing in place. Their new album Our Raw Heart, is a powerful flood of emotions coming out over riffs that verbalize just as much heartache as the lyrics. Yob’s music gives you a more direct link into their songwriter’s soul than any metal band I can think of. It is for these reasons that Yob could be untouchable, but they want you to touch and feel and be vulnerable enough to let the volume mend all your wounds.
Words by: Rob Shepyer
Photos by: Dillon Vaughn