Yob has gone a long way in the past two decades from an obscure psychedelic band, out of Eugene Oregon, who had been listening to Sleep for unhealthy stretches of time to one of the foremost heralds of doom metal. After a short hiatus in 2006 when they reformed under another moniker Middian, Mike Scheidt brought a new triumvirate together three years later with an acclaimed comeback album, ‘The Great Cessation’ and their star has only been rising ever since.
Last year, however, it looked like it might have been the end of Yob as we know it when tragedy struck as their front man has to undergo surgery for an acute intestinal disease. With his life literally hanging by a thread at some point, followed by a long struggle to become his own self again, it’s not hard to imagine that these events had a profound influence on the new record, ‘Our Raw Heart ‘Aaron Rieseberg, who has been playing bass with them ever since the reformation, is quite open about how the events of 2017 shaped the new record. “Going into 2017 we had been working on large chunks of the ideas that would eventually be this record but when Mike was hospitalized we all really were uncertain what the future would hold for him let alone the fate of the band. The only thing that mattered was for him to recover and that meant a healing hiatus was eminent. During that 6 month period Mike worked, as the pain permitted him to, non-stop on writing and songs grew in accordance with his recovery. I think that certainly bled into the music and saturated it with a force that would not be there had this not been that case.”
When trying to get some deeper explanation on the meaning of the enigmatically monikered album title, Aaron prefers not to lift the veil of mystery too much.“We would rather not say and leave that up to people to decide for themselves. This gives the listener more of a chance to give it a meaning of their own.”
The most unusual song on the new record would be ‘Beauty in Falling Leaves’ that shows a whole different side to their music. “To me this song shows a side of us that was hinted at with other songs like ‘The Great Cessation’ or ‘Marrow’ but with different dynamics and some unexpected turns. We really spent a lot of time on this song trying to get the rhythmic balance just right and to build the strongest arc into the final velvety crushing section. To us it feels like a natural progression in the direction of our more soulful, gargantuan, ballad sort of side.”
Contrary to what you might generally believe to find in doom, the lyrics on the new album are actually often quite uplifting. For instance in Lungs Reach there is a phrase: “No Matter how Lost You find yourself The sun rises still”. No matter what shit you go through there is always a way to pull yourself through it. “I think there always has been a big place for that in previous Yob music but this time around I feel it is more present than maybe ever. For Mike to write something and put it out there it really has to resonate with him personally. Everything that was sang, roared, screamed and whispered on this album was truly felt and was something that we could all get behind.”
A lot of the lyrics seem to reference the struggle to keep going and not give up, for instance the ongoing mantra on ‘Original Face’ “I must see it through”. It’s channelled through Yob’s quantum mysticism of course, but it does feel like a lot of the energy poured into the recovery after the surgery was poured out into the new record again. “Yes, that spirit absolutely was poured into it.”, the bass player wholeheartedly agrees.
There is a remarkable anecdote that the surgical team has put on Yob during the procedure as an anchoring point to hold on to as complications arose? “The doctors were indeed experiencing some complications during the surgery and played Yob songs in the operating room as an x-factor haha! I can’t say for certain if it was a turning point but it certainly didn’t hurt matters!”
Scheidt and co are frequently found on the finer festivals in Europe like for instance Roadburn. The band has an upcoming states wide across the US with none other than the fantastic funeral doom duo Bell Witch. “Hell yes. Very excited for our Summer gigs and to watch those guys every night. We are big fans of what they create and are good buddies of ours as well.” So when should we expect these guys back on this side of the pond?
“We have a European tour this Fall/winter beginning in early October!”