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I can't even begin to explain. This album has changed what I view possible with metal songwriting. This album doesn't even need to go past the first song to pull you through a galactic wormhole into a life-changing dark-psychedelic experience. YOB's attention to building atmosphere in their tracks and making it seamlessly mix and blend with heavy doom riffs easily makes this one of my top doom records of all time.
It has the perfect amount and balance of drone, psychedelic influence, heavy riffs, aggressive/melodic vocals and gradual tone-building in every song.
DRONEY STUFF: tracks like 'Exorcism of the Host' use the immensely epic slow-drum-accented-riffage as a jumping-off point into perfectly super slow tempo drone sections that constantly build atmosphere and help you descend into the blackness and emptiness and space. Also on the final/title track there will be many sections where the guitar parts dwell on the same highly-distorted bassy notes it starts to sound like they just turned into Sunn O))) BUT these long sections are used widely to engulf you into the song and have enough varying notes and sections popping in and out.
(I love me some-) PSYCHEDELICS: During your journey through your inner self, you will notice many wavy guitar effects and melodic overtones in both High vocals and melodic floating guitar parts. The atmosphere-building also really contributes to this feeling that you've just smoked a bowl and did shrooms, putting you through that slow, ethereal and dreaming state. The intro to the first track (probably my favorite of the 4), 'Ball of Molten Lead', really feels like "IT" is kicking in, and you definitely don't need to be high to experience this. I was sober through my entire listening of this album and it just felt great.
HEAVY RIFFS! : YOB definitely has the ability yo get people moshing like fucking crazy with immensely powerful chords and utterly doom progressions put to a really active rhythm, making a powerful groove that your can ride for quite the power trip. The song 'Doom #2', oddly, seems to be the least 'Doom-ish' of all the tracks due to its (significantly shorter run time) fast groove and aggressive riffs that attack you like a rabid wild doberman. On top of that, they're using their really heavy vocals which is used mostly throughout the album as a tool to further push you into the blackness, but on this track its used to fuel your feeling of uptempo attacking rage. On the other tracks, I mean, it's doom! What else more do I have to tell you! You know what you're getting; the heaviest of all the world's obsidian planted directly into your brain.
VOCALS: I mentioned vocals before, talking about the ethereal trippy aspects and powerful aggressive additions to the songs. They're produced in the manner that the light vocals are distorted either to an eerie high pitch or made to fade in and out like the souls of your dead ancestors. The aggressive vocals are given this gritty and sort of atmospheric distortion like it's the voice of a tornado's destructive winds talking to you during the long doom/drone sections. During the much more active sections with aggressive vocals the tone still works but in a different way, sort of getting-all-up-in-your-face and kind of overbearing way which works unless the song's clever tone and songwriting pattern has done its trick and brought you to the right mood in which your heart screams right along with it.
ATMOSPHERE BUILDING: YOB should win some sort of internationally-recognized award for incorporating dreamy atmosphere through the perfect kind of instrumental sections, soft or droning, which end up creating this feeling that you've been transported to another world. When you are day dreaming about the world inside this music or trying to visualize music videos for the songs in your head is when you know that this music has quality atmosphere & tone.
As a Sludge & Prog fan making his way into Doom metal, I cannot praise this album enough. The only reason I haven't given it a hundred percent is it's just not actually perfect. This album doesn't do much in the way of innovation or straying from the norm, It's just here to show that YOB are absolute masters of Stoner Doom and all the musical/metal elements I listed above. For everything it was, it was perfect; it was just really cohesive which can sort of serve as a disappointment when you realize that it only transported you to one amazing realm of existence, not any of the others.
Turn the lights off. You don't need any sensory input, in fact any outside sounds or feelings will take away from this momentous experience you are about to have when you leave this world. 95%. I love you all so very very much.
YOB is essentially the evolution of 'stoner' rock, traditional doom taken to the next level. Characterized by heavy as fuck jamming riffs, lengthy compositions and sci-fi filtered vocals which I like to imagine are the product of some 70s professor stoked on psychotropics that was somehow transfered to a space station at the edge of some nebula or cosmic anomaly, now transported back to our own time to warn us of our impending end. Among a sea of shitty stoner bands that continue to recycle the same 5 chords into the same dozen riffs so that they can toke with their friends, live 'green', and pretend they are their parents in 1969, YOB truly stands out for taking it somewhere unique.
The Illusion of Motion is no illusion, this record will move you. It consists of four tracks at a combined 50 minutes, and it's their third longplayer. "Ball of Molten Lead" starts with the whisper of winds and the emergence of feedback, evolving into a crushing of drone/doom riffs not unlike Neurosis. There is a certain depth to the heavier riffs, unlike many bands of this genre you simply don't get bored. They will rarely go for long without incorporating some new melody or twist, a progression. Mike Scheidt's nasal vortex of vocals also helps elevate the track beyond catalepsy. "Exorcism of the Host" is longer, and slower, and the vocals transform into something more primal and painful. To be honest this track was a little dull at first, the doom riffing seemed like just another mediocre sludge, but when it starts jamming by the midpoint it gets better. "Doom #2" is the shortest track on the album, at just over six minutes, but it's quite good. Brick laden grooves with a hybrid of the grunt and nasal stoner vocals, the chords crash and it's difficult to imagine a crowd standing still to this. For some strange reason it reminded me of a track or two from the Deftones White Pony, except with the different vocals. The title track closes the festivities with 26 minutes of tortured, creeping doom, kicking up the jam at the end with some nice drumming and feedback. I was pleasantly surprised that none of this grew tiring, the song is very carefully paced and its more repetitive segments are interesting enough to draw you in.
The mix of the record is crushing and huge, yet astoundingly clear. This is easily the match of most material from bands like Isis or the myriad of other sludge/drone/doom bands (a scene which has grown oversaturated and too often stagnant). The Illusion of Motion isn't their best effort, I enjoy Catharsis and The Unreal Never Lived slightly more, but it's a good one, I just didn't care for much of "Exorcism of the Host". At any rate, YOB is one of the finer American bands to rock the doom.
YOB's career was short, but amazing. Their impact, though now not considerable, in a few years this band will be emulated and adored by a plethora of bands to come. They're the Stoner version of SunnO))), and "The Illusion of Motion" is their best work of the entire catalogue.
First of all, I'd just like to preface the actual review by saying YOB, Hyatari and Boris are the bands that got me into Doom and Stoner Metal. YOB, however, are the main reason, solely because of their ethic. Whereas most bands resort to droning out a section to ridiculous, and oftentimes ludicrously boring lengths, YOB have put all that to rest. The songwriting structure of this particular band isn't progressive at all, it's just that the passages include so much that in order to have a complete repetition, it takes more than ten or twenty minutes. YOB's strength is that the songwriting is absolutely phenominal, as are the elements that contribute to their personality.
Almost immediately, people will tell you that the easiest way to distinguish YOB is by the sound of frontman Mike Sheidt's voice, which although charastically completely non-Metal, is perfect for this album. The nasal, often vo-coded shrill cry of his standard clean vocals perfectly contrasts against his hard-as-steel growl-scream halfbreed, giving YOB a conservative appeal that recalls Black Sabbath in places, and Sleep in others.
Another thing setting YOB apart from their contemporaries-and especially on this release-is their skill when it comes to songwriting savvy. Although YOB's effect arsenal doesn't extend beyond a flanger and a wah pedal, the feelings they manage to evoke and the completely crushing sound produced creates a very distinct and dense heaviness that's hard to come about nowadays. Opener "Ball of Molten Lead" trudges along with a devouring groove that manages to insert melody after off-kilter and psychadelic melody, making it without a doubt the most memorable song on the album. "Exorcism of the Host", however, breaks the norm for a bit and relies upon a massively heavy and destructive riff throughout the initial few minutes of the song, along with some hellish growling. As the vocoded water-effect vocals make a second appearance, the music begins to layer and evolve into something more than just a steam-rolling riff.
"Doom #2," however, surprised me by adhering to a more liberal Stoner ethic, rather than Doom. The tempo is mid-paced to fast, though never breaking Thrash boundaries. The vocal work here is again nearly perfect, and the riffs sound like a dense wall, never breaking momentum or their key sound. "The Illusion of Motion" is the beating heart of this album, though, and it's a title-track for a good reason. Implicating elements from all the earlier songs, it manages to create an incredibly dense and psychadelic wall, utilizing some fairly intense sustain and crunch, while managing to balance tempo and relate it directly to whether or not it's heavy or just plain boring. The vocalwork is at it's best on this track, showing Sheidt replicating another famous Mike-Mike Patton. Things end on a note similar to "Doom #2" with an almost up-beat freak-out of effects that sound like a bad acid trip during a thunder storm.
YOB secured their place in the history of Metal with this release, and I'm sure when Age is upon us, our asses will be kicked again. Amazing album.
I find this to be maybe the best stoner doom band these days. Here you have it all...catchy mid-paced riffs mixed with crushing, slow paced, trance-inducing ones mixed with psychodelic melodies and droning noises. Crazy clean vocals mixed with screaming. Everything that followed by great bass playing and a perfect drum performance giving you a sound-trip of your life. This band sounds like you took the best of Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Sleep, Burning Witch and Neurosis and threw it in a pool of LSD.
The first song, "Ball of Molten Lead", starts of with a slow intro, which is then followed by a very catchy riff which is first played without distortion and drums are following it without hitting any cymbals. Then the distortion kicks in and the drums get more agressive. After that we hear that unearthly vocal that is not only singing in a strangely colored high tone but is also spiced up with an effect. The bridge between the verses and the chorus contains one of the best riffs and best singing I've ever heard. The chorus is screamed very good. After the chorus, at approximately 7:40 minutes of the song everything stops and the guitar continues alone. At about 8:00 all the instruments kick in and you have the divine soundscapes until the end. Vocals continue to wary between clean and screaming, and guitar, bass and drums continue to make that huge, thick and hard but at the same time transparent and soft wall of sound just come crushing on you over and over again, feeling like you've truly been blessed.
The second song, "Exorcism of the Host" starts of heavy and very slow. Vocals perfectly singed and growled to a monolithic riffing. At approx. 8 minutes the guitars change to clean, and everything quiets down. Then a great solo comes, and then that wall of sound just keeps building up again getting bigger and better with every snare hit.
The third song, "Doom #2", is the shortest YOB song ever recorded (at least on their official releases). 6 minutes of anger and insanity. Disturbing and heavy as hell.
"The Illusion of Motion", the last track on the album, is a 26 minutes long epic Burning Witch-like masterpiece. 50 tones of iron hitting concrete in slow motion. I don't think I can describe how powerfull and genius this song is so I won't try. You have to hear this for yourself. Get this album by all means.