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Yob – Camden Underworld – 08/09/2014 | Live Review

Doom icons Yob tore a hole in Camden, with support from Bast and Pallbearer. Find out HTF’s verdict right here, right now.

Credit: James Rexroad/Neurot Recordings

Credit: James Rexroad/Neurot Recordings

There are bands who play music that is a fun distraction, something nice to listen to for a few minutes, that perhaps raises or alters your mood slightly. Then there are bands like Portland’s Yob. A trio who’s sound distorts your perceptions of time, space and totally immerses you from first note to last. Their rabid, staunch fan following is a testament to the music they make and the impact it has on the metal world.

An already rammed Camden Underworld welcomes local blackened sludge trio Bast. Their genre bending, black/sludge/doom blend is powerful, expressed in a series of twisted riffs and cacophonous drum sections. The trio’s black metal infused passages drag up the tempo to a blistering level, and the dual vocal attack of drummer Jon Lee and and guitarist Craig Bryant is chilling and caustic. It’s when they hit ‘Outside The Circle Of Time’ that things really ignite, showcasing some canny song crafting and well implemented almost post-metal elements. They leave the stage with a muted “cheers” from Bryant. Job done.

Pallbearer have received a lot of attention off the back of their latest release, Foundations Of Burden, and arguably this sees them almost as anticipated as the headliners. The beard ratio in the crowd is high, and accusations of ‘hipster metal’ surround the band. They confidently dismiss this over their set. Their sound is majestic, soaring, magical riffs that dispel accusations of repetitiveness with subtle nuances and dynamic shifts. ‘Worlds Apart’ is massive, with Brett Campbell’s ethereal, almost spectral wail echoing across vast distance and into your mind. His vocals, as well as his melodic, expansive guitar solos are dogged by sound issues over the first two tracks, but this is swiftly rectified in the mix. The band are self assured and dominate the stage, perfectly setting and sustaining their own mood, with Joseph D. Rowland’s bass runs and textures anchoring a wall of sound. Campbell quips that “it’s about fucking time we made it to London, right?”The shouts imploring ‘more’ at the end of their set would seem to agree.

All eyes are affixed on Yob’s frontman Mike Scheidt  as he takes to the stage wielding a pedal board the size of a fridge door. He chats with fans in the front row and pauses for a shared selfie, cementing his humble yet heroic status. With very little ado, the power trio plow into fan favourite ‘Ball Of Molten Lead’, and it sounds like the universe exhaling, completely all encompassing and atmospheric in equal measure. Taking a brave step, they then proceed to run through their latest release Clearing The Path To Ascend in it’s full hour-and-then-some expanse. For another band, this would be a gamble, but each and every new track is flawless. ‘In Our Blood’ is a crawling, supporting mass one minute and a sparse, contemplative lull the next. ‘Nothing To Win’ is a relentless, driving barrage of Travis Foster’s tidal drumwork. ‘Unmask The Spectre’ is arguably the very essence of Yob’s sound alchemically distilled into a undulating, shifting and organic dynamic progression.

‘Marrow’ is an achingly beautiful, almost vulnerable change of pace, but is still crushingly heavy, reaching skyward in a way that only this band know how. Throughout the set Scheidt is a sonic shaman, like some kind of divining rod, spiritually as well as physically engrossed in his craft. He uses his whole body as an instrument to focus reverb and feedback. ‘Quantum Mystic’ goes down an absolute storm, but it’s telling of the strength of their newer offerings that their older work, although stellar, seems somehow less full and realised by comparison. The crowd exit as if under some kind of mass hypnosis. This was not a gig. This was some kind of communal experience.

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