Yob – Atma

written by: August 2, 2011
Release Date: August 16, 2011


Oregon doom metal trio Yob has been bestowed with the greatest honor any metal band could hope to achieve: having a burger named after it at Chicago metal haven Kuma’s Corner. Sharing a menu with such highly-influential acts such as Slayer and Iron Maiden, Yob’s greatness seems implicit. However, its most recent album Atma raises many questions as to why the band is held in such regard.

Atma is what one would expect from the group, and there’s something to be said for the fact that kind of longevity. Unfortunately, the five songs comprising Atma’s 55-minute runtime are not overly compelling. In fact, the limitations of the subgenre prove to be the biggest hindrance for Yob. Mike Scheidt composes some thoroughly crushing riffs—opening track “Prepare the Ground” is a prime example—but repeating that same riff for minutes on end only serves to lessen its impact over time.

The restrictions of metal’s slower subgenres are all illuminated here. When executed well, doom metal acts are able to consume the listener with their monotonous drive, but here Yob falls just short due in large part to a rhythm section that gets lost in monotony.

There are moments when it seems as if Yob is attempting break outside of these doom-y confines, and in doing so, it creates some of the most interesting pieces in the band’s catalog. The intro for “Adrift in the Ocean” recalls elements of folk-metal before the rhythm section—comprising bassist Aaron Reiseberg and drummer Travis Foster—build slowly with tribal cadences. It only helps that it is one of two tracks in which Neurosis’ Scott Kelly makes an appearance, bringing some much needed diversity to Yob’s vocal styling.

Throughout Atma, it is obvious that Yob has moved forward since its debut, but this growth was so gradual it is hard to notice these nuances.

While Yob could potentially be the band to bring doom metal to new audiences, it is far from being an easy listen. The songs are not easily to digest partly due to their extreme length, Scheidt’s vocal style that occasionally recalls Ozzy-era Black Sabbath, and the fact they set out to ravish the listener.

When Atma concludes, there’s no real resolution. For a group such as Yob, writing songs that build slowly and evolve meticulously are their bread and butter. Sadly, Atma ends without having fully realized that. “Adrift in the Ocean” goes from being one of the album’s best offerings to merely trailing off at its climax, without offering any conclusion. When an album only has five songs, they need to warrant their length and have a ton of replay value. It’s sad to see Yob fail to achieve this because of small missteps in sections of each song. Yob flirts with greatness throughout Atma, but in the end it seems as if the group defaulted to laziness.

Yob – Atma Tracklist:

  1. “Prepare The Ground”
  2. “Atma”
  3. “Before We Dreamed Of Two”
  4. “Upon The Sight Of The Other Shore”
  5. “Adrift In The Ocean”