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Our Raw Heart Antonio Poscic , June 5th, 2018 14:45

From the Oregon doom metal trio, an album of raw grace and nascent hope

Our Raw Heart is a crushing and stirring doom metal affair, a cathartic album created after guitarist and vocalist Mike Scheidt suffered a severe episode of diverticulitis early last year. It shines with a rare beauty. The music ebbs and flows from ballad-like meditations reminiscent of Earth to the caustic sludge of Yob’s early records.

The album opens on a wistful note, the droning flow of ‘Ablaze’ caught between heaviness and tunefulness punctuated by Scheidt’s soulful singing. It has a solemn atmosphere and an aching for oblivion akin to the wonderful ‘Marrow’ from Yob’s previous release Clearing The Path To Ascend, but it also feels barer and painfully earnest.

This raw grace and nascent hope are missing from the central triptych of ‘The Screen’, ‘In Reverie’ and ‘Lungs Reach’, which instead tap into darker elements of the human condition. These are agonising and angry pieces propelled by burrowing, filthy riffs, digging bass lines and hard drum hits. ‘The Screen’ lurches forward with a sinister weight as Scheidt’s croon deforms into sotto voce growls while the constrained intro of ‘In Reverie’ soon explodes into a sullen doom metal epic.

But while these negative sentiments are an integral part of self-discovery, Travis Foster, Aaron Rieseberg and Scheidt ultimately project a newfound appreciation for life. The closing songs, the long and contemplative ‘Beauty in Falling Leaves’ and the poignant title track, show glimpses of admiration for the world, the good and the bad in it, as Scheidt sings, “The chase has come and gone / Yearning to be let go,” his voice almost breaking.

Yob will never be the same band again. Our Raw Heart is a record of rediscovery that chisels away at any remaining walls between the trio - their sadness, joy and anger - and the outside world.