Metal is a tough realm for the uninitiated. The litany of tangental sub-genres alone (doom, thrash, death, black metal, Depressive Suicidal Black Metal… yes that's a real one) can be a daunting rabbit hole. These divisions have been carved out through decades of innovation and collaboration. At this point there are well-worn paths for new bands to follow and, just like it's embarrassing dad, Rock, an old genre can come back into style with new ideas from a new generation.
A couple years ago it was black metal crashing into the foreground. Even non-metal artists like Phil Elverum of Mount Eerie started utilizing black metal tropes and expanding upon them. Depending on who you asked, it was a time of either exciting progression or downright heresy.
Nowadays you can't even take your denim vest in for dry cleaning without hitting a doom metal band's Sprinter van in the parking lot. Like seagulls at the dump, we've a heaping glut of sludge to feast on and its hard to know the trash from the booty.
Standing in the landfill like an ancient effigy is Yob.
The Oregon trio, formed by vocalist/guitarist Mike Scheidt almost 20 years go, has pursued a specific vision that is fluid with genre. While rooted in doom, the band incorporates elements of psychedelica, stoner metal and even post-rock into their unique sound. They've just finished a string of tour dates with Tool and, like that band (and label-bosses Neurosis), Yob zooms out on the cosmos. All three collectives share metaphysical topics and an almost spiritual sense of searching humility.
Devotees of these bands often use the term tribal to describe the music in earnest, and there is a reason for it. With their extreme volume and content, metal shows always have the capacity to be an overwhelming and, at their best, an ecstatic experience. Amidst the dirge and trance of the heavy riffs, there is a feel that, for Scheidt, the music is more than just shredding on massive amps and saving up for the repairs. It's the same feel that sets Elverum apart from all the other bedroom conductors that use excessive overdubs to illustrate emotion. An acknowledgement and allowance of otherness, of the Other, into the creation of the music.
Yob's recent album, Clearing The Path To Ascend, has Scheidt's wail/growl dichotomy and all the triplet-chugs fans know and love, but with a sharper, calmer focus. There is a patience at play here, and an invitation for mutual reverence. Be ye progressive or heretic, let thy fisted horns rise.
Check out Yob at Club Congress on Wednesday, Nov. 18. The show kicks off at 7 p.m. with Black Cobra and Sorxe opening. Tickets are available at the door the day of the show for $15 or online in advance for $12, along with more information via Hotel Congress' website. It is an all ages show.