Yob - _The Unreal Never Lived_
(Metal Blade, 2005)
by: Jackie Smit (
Yob are a rare breed -- a band that can name-check a gamut of influences as diverse names as Neurosis, High on Fire, Electric Wizard and Killing Joke, and never once sound even remotely derivative. With running times that make Opeth sound positively succinct (up to a portly 21:34), _The Unreal Never Lived_ is essentially five absorbingly progressive tracks that oscillate between sounding punishingly majestic and claustrophobically pensive, with a whole lot thrown in along the way. It's all good though, because as prolonged as the inevitable pay-off can tend to be in some of these songs, much of the magic lies in their dynamics; an art that this Oregon trio commands with the deft mastery of seasoned pros. It takes a few sittings to thoroughly digest, but the rewards are ample and repeated listens allow one to more acutely appreciate the ingenious synergy of this record's various elements -- from the gruff, raw recording through to Mike Scheidt's tortured vocals. Understandably, it won't be up everyone's street; but for the most part, those who choose to ignore this album really don't know what they're missing.
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