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Epic, crushing, and heavy beyond words, YOB has achieved legendary status in recent years due to their unmatched aesthetic and incredible body of work. Formed in 1996 in Eugene, Oregon under the leadership of doom metal mastermind Mike Scheidt on guitars and vocals, the group initially released a three song demo tape in 2000 that garnered them international attention. Drawing comparisons to groups like Neurosis, Sleep and Electric Wizard, YOB succeeded in developing modern sounding doom metal that hearkened back to the classics.
In 2002, YOB released their debut album Elaborations of Carbon followed by Catharsis in 2003, a three song record that clocked in at a colossal 50 minutes. The buzz about YOB was beginning to grow and the trio began to tour more extensively. Remaining quite prolific during this period, YOB continued to release an album each year with The Illusion of Motion coming in 2004 followed by The Unreal Never Lived in 2005. Despite all the momentum, YOB disbanded in 2006.
In 2008 the band returned from hiatus and has remained strong ever since with Travis Foster on drums and Aaron Rieseberg on bass. Reinvigorated and reinspired, YOB released The Great Cessation in 2009. It was doom with a psychedelic twist, a sound that Pitchfork referred to as “cosmic doom.” At this point in their career, the band found increased exposure in the media, with The New York Times going so far as to call them “one of the best bands in North America” after a performance at Scion Rock Festival.
For 2011’s Atma , YOB took a more organic approach to recording, opting to track everything at once. In Scheidt’s own words, he wanted the record to sound “grizzly, with hair on it.” Three year later, the group released Clearing the Path to Ascend , a record that upheld their legacy as a top notch doom metal act and was hailed by Rolling Stone as the #1 metal album of the year.
Now in 2018, the band has announced their newest album ‘Our Raw Heart’ to be released on Relapse Records. As for how Our Raw Heart will be received? Mike Scheidt (guitar/vocals) is wise enough to know that it’s out of his hands. “I think every era of Yob fan will find something on there to dig—it’s just a matter of whether they can go on the whole trip or not,” he ventures. “And that’s none of my business. The music has a life of its own. It goes out there into the world and it’s gonna be received however it’s received.”
With their third full-length album, “Mirror Reaper,” Seattle’s doom metal duo BELL WITCH have created a truly enormous work – one continuous 83-minute piece unfolding as a single track.
Engineered and mixed by veteran producer Billy Anderson (Swans, Sleep, Neurosis), the duo of Dylan Desmond (bass, vocals) and Jesse Shreibman (drums, vocals, organ) have pushed the band’s sound further than it’s ever gone before. While retaining the monolithic heaviness of their previous releases, “Mirror Reaper” sees the band explore the more meditative, melancholy, and introspective aspects to their sound through the introduction of long, lonely organ passages and the return of honorary BELL WITCH member, vocalist Erik Moggridge (Aerial Ruin), offering a prominent presence.
Formed by Desmond and ex-drummer/vocalist Adrian Guerra, BELL WITCH released their first self-titled demo in 2011 and partnered with Profound Lore Records for their debut album, “Longing,” in 2012. The duo’s second LP, the acclaimed “Four Phantoms” (2015) was recognized as one of doom metal’s triumphs of the year. The band extensively toured in North America and Europe, securing notable festival appearances (Roadburn, Basilica Soundscape, Sled Island, Psycho CA).
On the themes surrounding the concept and lyrics of “Mirror Reaper” the band state:
“The title ‘Mirror Reaper’ is indicative of the Hermetic axiom ‘As Above, So Below,’ written with two sides to form one whole. The song is both its own and its reflection, as an opposite is whole only with its contrary. Our focus as a band has always been the perception of ghosts and the implied archetype of the dichotomy of life/death therein. ‘Mirror Reaper’ is a continuation of that concept.
During the writing process we were devastated by the loss of our dear friend and former drummer, Adrian Guerra. In love and respect to his memory, we reserved an important yet brief section in the song for him that features unused vocal tracks from our last album. This specific movement serves as a conceptual turn in the piece, or point of reflection. We believe he would be proud of it as well.
‘Mirror Reaper’ was the first collaborative writing project with the new line up, and Adrian’s death during it brought extra emotional weight. We sought to match the complexity and weight of these events within the composition of the piece.”
Bruce Lamont wears many hats, he’s part of electronic noise-dirge squad Corrections House, with Eyehategod’s Mike IX Williams, Neurosis’s Scott Kelly, and longtime creative partner Sanford Parker; the mind-melting jazz-prog-hardcore trio Brain Tentacles, and dozens of other projects, large and small, collaborating with an ever-growing network of like minds.