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Stoked on psychotropics - 75%

autothrall, November 14th, 2009

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.