YOB
Atma


4.5
superb

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
August 11th, 2011 | 84 replies | 12,817 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Due to non-linear, complex song structure and captivating dynamics, “Atma” feels like a concept progressive rock album being filtered through doom and sludge metal standards.

The Eugene, Oregon-based trio, Yob, proved to be up there among the most essential acts in the doom metal genre by delivering one stellar album after another during the last decade. With every new record, they have been getting more proficient in crafting oppressively heavy doom metal epics. Released in 2005, “The Unreal Never Lived” seems to be the pinnacle of their career showcasing the essence of doom, sludge and drone in an impressively well textured package of four extended jams. Their new album, “Atma,” while not equally abrasive, finds the act verging into a dirtier and sludgier territory. While this music style is hardly original, Yob make the best of it displaying an appropriate level of commitment and intensity in their aptly structured presentation.

The concept of “Atma” revolves around the Buddhist theory of 'self' as the new age voice-over in the title track proclaims. The album indeed feels very organic and earthly throughout being centered around hypnotic, mid-tempo grooves, which along with enigmatically altering dynamics, evoke the permeating atmosphere of decay. The front man, Mike Scheidt, provides heavily distorted, groove-laden riffs accompanied with occasional paranoid soloing. He also shows a major improvement as a vocalist providing a diverse performance that ranges from clean, traditional heavy metal-inspired falsetto singing to demented, brutal growls. This is coupled with not overly technical, yet totally reliable and precise rhythm section.

Sonically, the album focuses on a massive, low-end assault which is interwoven with sparse airy sections. “Prepare The Ground” begins with a monolithic riff that later develops into frenetically layered, quasi-melodic passages. The title track is both stylistically and thematically riveting exploring the concept of spiritual 'self' with a penchant for sludge. "Upon The Sight Of The Other Shore" allures with titanous vocals as well as absolutely towering guitar work. Nearly 16-minute-long ”Before We Dreamed Of Two” happens to be trippy and multi-dimensional venturing into a wide range of gripping sections. The assault suddenly stops and the evocative performance of Neurosis singer, Scott Kelly, kicks in only to bring the astoundingly plodding climax that features amazing dual vocals. The other epic song, “Adrift In The Ocean,” may only disappoint with Scheidt's singing that doesn't gel very well with ambitious music this time around. Other than that, the composition flows swiftly with its tribal, progressive and drone influences being used to great effect.

In essence, due to non-linear, complex song structure and captivating dynamics, “Atma” feels like a concept progressive rock record being filtered through doom and sludge metal standards. While its impact on a listener might not be immediate right from the onset, it certainly earns its status of the essential doom metal album with multiple spins.



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user ratings (110)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Voivod STAFF (3.5)
YOB go through their unique and highly addictive motions....


Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2011



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Stream:

http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=138825042&m=138749716

Digging: Kimbra - The Golden Echo

BallsToTheWall
August 11th 2011



44164 Comments


Nice review.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2011



18225 Comments


Whoever NPR hired to work in their media department is one cool ass dude.

Also, artwork looks sick, might check this out.

Digging: Syndrone - Salmataxia

alachlahol
August 11th 2011



7477 Comments


this band has always been mediocre

Inveigh
August 11th 2011



24863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

can't believe I've never listened to this band before, sounds awesome

nice review Greg

Digging: YOB - Clearing The Path To Ascend

greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2011



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks dudes. I might up this to 4.5 in time. This shit is seriously growing on me. It might be my favorite Yob album.

Willie
Moderator
August 11th 2011



15897 Comments


Good review. I've never bothered with these guys before, but this sounds interesting.

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2011



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks a bunch. I spoke to quite a lot of bands who claim to be influenced by these guys. They have a cult following in the underground. That's for sure.

iFghtffyrdmns
August 11th 2011



7047 Comments


"The album indeed feels very organic and earthly throughout being centered around hypnotic, mid-tempo grooves, which along with enigmatically altering dynamics, evoke the permeating atmosphere of decay."
holy hell it's a big word party. love it.

Nice write up Greg. If I knew anything about or liked doom perhaps I'd be into this, but I think I'll pass

greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2011



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@iFghtffyrdmns: Thanks a lot dude. You know. Once I stated I wasn't into hip-hop at all. Now I'm digging some hip-hop LPs. I guess you'll never know if you don't try.

@silentpotato: Agreed. They're sick. The link is up there. No one can stop you.



greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2011



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haha. Me being persuasive.

iFghtffyrdmns
August 11th 2011



7047 Comments


yeah actually after I posted that I went and listened to a couple songs (and by a couple I mean one cause it was like 12 minutes long). kinda cool, not sure if I'd dig it for an entire album though haha

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2011



5971 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Very well written review, pos.

Funny as it may be, i have a review ready for this pinpointing more or less what you write plus some more stuff, i don't know if i should post it because it will seem as plagiarism compared to yours lol.


idk... I will leave it up to the mods lol.


Indeed the record is a very slow grower. For me it started as "average" and ended as "great", its end rating imo.


However i thoroughly disagree with the following:

due to non-linear, complex song structure

These two hardly happen in Atma, imo. As for Track 3 - Before We Dreamed of Two - it feels more like a batch of three different tracks made as one, not an entirely good thing altogether.

Plus the last track kinda ends somewhat abruptly, despite its huge temporal length.


4/5

This rating is a bit generous for this record, as anything they bring in here, has already existed before in much more inspired versions imo and that's precisely why the record it's a slow grower. In your review you don't provide proof for your final conclusion. Atma somewhat reminds me of The Illusion of Motion minus the complex structure of the latter, but it is surely below anything they issued prior to this.

Digging: Lisa Gerrard - Twilight Kingdom

greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2011



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@silentpotato: For me, it just barely tops The Unreal Never Lived. I thought it was worse after the first couple of spins, but this is such a grower. I'm also a sucker for awesome vocals and this album marks a major improvement in this department.

@iFghtffyrdmns: Cool. It depends on which tracks you've heard. Tracks 3 and 5 are more proggy, the rest is more straightforward.


Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2011



5971 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

dunno if this could beat the unreal never lived tho

it doesn't, imho.

it is not anywhere near The Great Cessation as well.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2011



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Voivod: Cool. I think you should post your review later on. Preferably when this album is released. For me, it started as a solid 4 and now moves to 4.5.

Strangely, I agree with almost everything you stated. Track 3 feels like a batch of 3 different tracks. Very true, but I don't think it's a disadvantage. Prog rock bands do it all the time so why Job can't do it? I dig every one of the components.

Track 5 ends suddenly? Yeah. It's hard to argue with this. I guess it ends so by design. The record is designed as an endless cycle. After the last track, one should listen to the whole album again.

I'm still discovering new layers of this album's sound so I can't say for sure if it's superior to their previous material. What I know is that the vocals are definitely better and more up my alley.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2011



5971 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

What I know is that the vocals are definitely better and more up my alley.

Most certainly, i think it's the only element in YOB's sound that got better here with respect to the previous records.



I think you should post your review later on. Preferably when this album is released

Yeah, i planned to do so anyway. Definitely will use the time for further proofreading, as one cannot proofread too much.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2011



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It'll be interesting to get a bit different point of view on this album. 3.5 is still pretty high. I can easily see this disc in my top10 of the year.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2011



5971 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I can easily see this disc in my top10 of the year.

me too


3.5 is still pretty high.

Yeah, it definitely deserves it. It's so unlikely that any future Yob record will go under a 3.5. This band is so solid.


My personal ranking of Yob's discog:

The Unreal Never Lived>Catharsis>The Great Cessation>The Illusion of Motion>Atma>Elaborations of Carbon

The differences between the first four are marginal/infinitesimal.

First four are between 4-4.5.

Atma is a solid 3.5 (if not higher)

Elaborations of Carbon is a 3.0

Duderino
August 11th 2011



827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

if you've never listened to yob, this probably isn't the best place to start. i'd recommend unreal never lived or illusion of motion. that said, album slays



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