Sat Dec 6
"Wherever there is an up, there must be a down. Eugene is filled with peace loving, time-warp style hippie activists and '60s relics. YOB is the down."
Mike Scheidt should know. He's the singer, guitarist, and founder of Oregon's most important metal export since Poison Idea. YOB plays a pulverizingly slow and agonizing style of music called Doom, which, thanks in part to a cult online music community, is rapidly becoming an international phenomenon.
"We feel very lucky," admits Scheidt. "So much of our 'success' has happened on its own. YOB's growth has a life of its own." Fans in Portland have seen YOB's popularity and grace grow exponentially over the last few years, as they've shared the stage with important underground acts like Electric Wizard, High on Fire, Isis, and the Locust. The heaviest bands in the world are now listening to YOB for further inspiration.
Sophomore album Catharsis has just been released on the UK label that issues Emperor. Its three tracks of massive, dystopian guitar chords and subsonic bass rumble over 60 minutes--a down-tuned modern classic that recalls the majesty of Ride the Lightning. Much of its power comes from an innocence that would be impossible to cultivate in Portland without a shred of irony.
25-minute epics are not unheard of in the doom metal scene, and YOB's compositions are among the best. They command subtle psychedelia; power reminiscent of the best Pink Floyd and the meatiest Sabbath chunk. Scheidt's voice soars high like Ozzy at his mid-'70s peak through a slipstream of effects, but also reaches monstrous depths. It carries a remarkable conviction and sincerity that is rarely approached in metal music without a shred of goth or emo. Scheidt concedes, "I guess if you're writing emotional music, the emotions have to be honest."
The only problem now is that YOB is so prolific, their songwriting is two albums ahead of their release schedule. "It feels good to be so inspired, and it's frustrating too, because I want to record these songs and present them to our supporters and friends. And YOB hasn't reached our songwriting peak yet. When we do, and I know it in my heart, we will call it a day. Until then, we have work to do."