The Illusion of Motion
posted on 11/2004 By:
Unleashing their third album in four years, Oregon’s YOB deliver a monumental platter of doom with a capital D. You know the story—born from the rib of Black Sabbath and continuing in the vein of vets like Sleep and Electric Wizard, YOB both punish and entrance the listener with a bongload of hazy, monstrous riffs. The band made some waves with the excellent 2003 effort Catharsis, and have since been picked up by Metal Blade. The Illusion of Motion picks up where that album left off, and will most certainly garner a great deal of excitement among doom fans.
YOB has a knack for juxtaposition. At times painstakingly slow and deliberate, while at others considerably up-tempo, the booming, fuzzed out riffs are guaranteed to have you bobbing your head slowly in appreciation. More notable however, are the divergent vocal approaches that give the band a unique sound. Singer/guitarist Mike Scheidt alternates between aggressive roars and a soaring high pitched approach that sounds a bit like a manipulated Geddy Lee vocal. This approach is pretty over the top and may take a few spins to become accustomed to, but is used in effective partnership with the more guttural delivery. Scheidt and drummer Travis Foster and bassist Isamu Sato are in very fine form on “Exorcism of the Host”, a track that begins with slow, crashing descending chords, and vocals of both varieties, sometimes at the same time. The track is ominous and ton-of-bricks heavy, with distorted and impassioned growling vocals that are a perfect match for the music. Sounds good right? But it also sounds pretty standard. However, when Scheidt adds a high, frantic sounding vocal line over the ominous vocals and music, a whole other dynamic of tension is created. As the title would suggest, the song sounds like a bitter struggle. That is, until about twelve minutes in, when it literally sounds as if the clouds roll away and the sun comes out, and we are graced with a light and hazy solo, before the heaviness returns for the track’s climax.
At six minutes long, “Doom #2” is the shortest song in YOB’s catalogue, and is also one of the heavier moments on the album, chugging along with noisy and discordant guitar work. The opening track “Ball of Molten Lead” begins slowly before taking off with an incredible groove that is fuzzy and deep, while punctuated by a quick and tight chord progression. This song will make you move your head, period. Really, aside from vocals that may turn off some listeners while simultaneously pleasing others, I don’t have much to say in way of criticism. I will say that the last of the album’s four tracks, “The Illusion of Motion” is a twenty six minute trip that some will view as the centerpiece of the album and others will view as a bit ponderous. Most of the song is extremely slow, but it also picks up in places, and finishes with a bang if you are patient enough to wait that long. It is a solid track, but not one of the best on the album, which is too bad, considering its length.
Along with Ufomammut’s Snailking, The Illusion of Motion is required listening for 2004’s crop of doom. Whether you’re a serious fan of the genre or simply a metal fan who can appreciate the occasional Sabbath spawned creeping variety of metal, I recommend you give this album a spin.
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