Humans have desired to ascend since before the written word. From a spiritual and metaphysical point of view the mythologies that lie behind humans ascending into the heavens are varied. Maybe it’s humanity’s infinite want to seek a higher truth. Oregon’s Yob have titled their newest doom opus, Clearing The Path To Ascend. If there was ever an album this year that could potentially help you reach that higher spiritual plateau, it may be this one.
Yob has always seemed to be a band on a somewhat cosmic mission. Their music has always pushed the boundaries of traditional American doom, equal parts contemplative and aggressive. This, their seventh full-length album, does not disappoint in that respect. If anything, this album enhances that duality to a certain extent. There are moments here when Yob are at their most contemplative, their most ethereal, yet no sooner are you comfortable when they unleash some of their most aggressive sounds to date. (Try the battering finale of “Nothing to Win” for an absolutely triumphant blast of pure belligerence.) Whatever path they are trying to clear and wherever they are ascending to, one thing is clear, they are going to proceed both with beauty and power like an ancient ritual hell bent on drawing down the moon itself.
Yob have never been a band that’s conformed to some sort of genre ethos. Sure, there are check boxes that get ticked along the way. Thunderous, colossal riffs? Check. A bowel-movement inducing rhythm section? Check. Songs that easily crack the 10-minute mark? Check. But at the end of the day this is a band that is still, even after seven albums, in the exploratory phase of their career. There are still aural pathways that have yet to be tread and when they do collectively knock down one of those proverbial doors they do so with an almost extraterrestrial sense of wonderment and intellect. At no point in time, even on the 15+ minute track, “Unmask The Spectre” do you feel like this band is wandering aimlessly. They may indeed be wandering – through genre classifications, through veritable mountains of sound – but there’s nothing aimless about it. Like the old saying goes, all those who wander are not lost. It may be easy as an outsider looking in to get lost though, lost in the swirling deluge of audible bliss woven together by a band looking to ascend…and take you with them.
Clearing The Path To Ascend is due out via Neurot Recordings on September 2. You can experience “Unmask The Spectre“over at Stereogum.