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YOB. There isn't much to be said about them, besides that at one point they were the heaviest band in the western world. Huge, sprawling riffs only heard in the worst of night-terrors with witchhunt-esque vocals, YOB certainly made their mark with their debut album 'Elaborations of the Carbon'. A cosmic draft of what would come later on in their career, this is one hell of an introduction.
'Elaborations' starts of with the ever-grooving "Universe Throb", which opens with some atmospheric sounds and tripped out shit. Eventually the guitars come in, setting the mood for the rest of the record, and after a couple minutes of waiting, the whole band comes in. What an entrance. Drums pummeling relentlessly, while Mike's Geddy Lee-like vocals soar above the music, like a crow flying over an infinite pit of hot black tar. The middle section is no different.. just 10 times heavier and trippier. A muted chord provides the basis for this bridge for about two minutes, and after that all hell breaks loose. The grooviest riff yet, Mike steps back into the light and tracks a great solo, flowing and mesmerizing. A wicked doomed-out track to introduce you to such a wicked doomed-out band.
"All the Children Forgotten" follows up, with rain in the background while hints of wah-ed out guitar move their way forward. A great intro for an ominous song, Mike starts the heaviness by singing "I see the beauty in life" then growls "But I don't see the dogma" while a heavy-ass riff plods behind. Probably the slowest riff, but also the most crushing. It switches from quiet to loud a couple times in this song, and every time the heaviness returns ten-fold. The middle section introduces a cool chromatic sounding riff, which snakes its way into a simple descending guitar part, at about 40 bpm. Yeah, we're talking slow. Mike does a huge fucking death growl near the conclusion of this part, as the song corrodes upon itself at a pace way beyond slow.
Finally, we get a breath of fresh air, away from the oppressive doomy stature with "Clear Seeing". Opening with some cool drums and a catchy distorted bass line, and we're treated with a nice uptempo aggro-hippy tune. Here's a fun way to enjoy this song. Find a long stretch of empty highway, blast this song, and drive fast. There's a cool stoner groove midway through the song, very Sabbathian, with a nice solo, think Black Sabbath after listening to Pink Floyd's 'Meddle' a little too much. This song basically ends the same as it started, but it's a very nice uptempo rocker to keep you awaiting the next twists and turns.
I haven't heard the original version of "Revolution", but I don't think I need to. The version presented here is the pinnacle of "Elaborations", mixing in everything we've heard so far into one gigantic (17 minutes) song. The song builds itself up quite quickly, with the full band playing within the first minute. I really can't give a play-by-play of this song.. there's so much cool shit going on you have to listen for yourself.
"Pain of I" is the most dense piece of music ever. It's also the heaviest song on this album. Prominent death growls flood this track, cymbal crashes, heavy bass, sludgey guitars, there really isn't anyhing else to say. It's such a thick piece that you really have to experience it.
The last song, and second longest, is "Asleep in Samsara". Opening with a pentatonic riff with some throat-singing in the background, this recalls moments of Sleep, Om, and Electric Wizard. This song almost sounds happy compared to the rest of the tracks, even with the heavy aggro-hippy riffage. Mike tracks a stellar vocal performance on this track, with clean Geddy Lee-like vocals soaring above everything else. About halfway through (again) the band drops out and Mike is left to play on his own. Different guitar tones throughout, this song begins to feel like Sleep's "Dopesmoker" all over again. As with any YOB song, it takes about five minutes for a section to fully blossom, and it's no different on this track. For the length of the songs, you almost expect a thick green haze to come out of your speakers, while the devil himself offers you a hit from a two-foot multi-chambered bong. Hell yeah.
While this is YOB's longest album (it's 70 minutes, about 20 minutes longer than the other three), it certainly isn't their best. Some of it is a bit too repetitive, and one or two parts don't really transition smoothly into each other (just like a majority of this review). Besides these minor quibbles, YOB's debut LP is a fucking gargantuan record. Some of the heaviest hippy grooves ever commited to tape, make sure to play this fucker loud and proud.